The messenger logo


By Messenger Staff
Thursday, November 26
Russia and Turkey are on the verge of confrontation after a Russian aircraft was downed by Turkish armed forces late on November 24.

Russia has stated that that one of its pilots was killed and another is missing, and a marine involved in a rescue attempt was also killed.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has described the action as a “stab in the back”, as according to him the Russian jet was not violating Turkish airspace.

Meanwhile, NATO member Turkey claims that the jet was in their airspace and it was warned “ten times” before it was downed.

The Turkish President said his forces had been acting within their rules of engagement.

"Everyone must respect the right of Turkey to protect its borders," Erdogan said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg offered support for Ankara, rejecting any suggestion that the incident happened beyond Turkey's borders.

Asked if there was any possibility that the plane was actually shot down inside Syria, Stoltenberg said: "The allied assessments that we have are consistent with the information we have from Turkey," he stated at a news conference.

"We stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO ally," Stoltenberg said

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, sought to ease tensions on Tuesday after the Turkish fighter jet downed a Russian bomber aircraft in Syria, the Tass news agency reported.

"Talked with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Need to avoid escalation [between Turkey and Russia]," Mogherini tweeted.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday he would not visit Turkey as planned on November 25 following Turkey's downing of the jet.

As reported, Sergei Lavrov advised Russians not to visit Turkey and said the threat of terrorism there was no less than in Egypt, where a bomb attack brought down a Russian passenger plane last month.

It is, naturally, difficult to analyse the situation until the final results are revealed. However, violating the airspace of other countries has been a Russian habit for many years. Russia often uses such provocative actions against its rivals; Moscow has done this many times to Georgia.

If it was a provocation it should have had an aim. Russia is fully aware that Turkey is backed by the rest of NATO and that carrying out an attack on Turkey means opposing the entirety of the alliance. Maybe Russia is testing international reactions, or perhaps is even attempting to militarily provoke Turkey. If Turkey downed the jet in Syrian airspace it might be a Turkish signal to Russia that Ankara, and not Moscow, is the main player in the area.

Unfortunately, the situation once again revealed that the mass exodus and deaths of innocent people in Syria is less important than the political rivalries between world powers.

If there is any serious confrontation between Turkey and Russia, it will also have diastrous consequences for Tbilisi, as both countries are Georgia's neighbours. The alleged confrontation will affect Georgia's security, economy and many other state-important directions.