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Analysis: Putin rebukes Turkey’s ‘protection’ of terrorists
November 24, 2015, 7:36 pm

Putin's reaction to the Turkish downing of a Russian fighter jet came soon after his meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah to coordinate anti-ISIL efforts [Xinhua]

Putin’s reaction to the Turkish downing of a Russian fighter jet came soon after his meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah to coordinate anti-ISIL efforts [Xinhua]

“Our jet was shot down with an air-to-air missile fired by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet and crashed in Syrian territory four kilometers from the Turkish border,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

The Turkish Defense Ministry had earlier said that it had shot down a Russian SU-24 which had repeatedly penetrated its airspace.

But Putin would have none of it.

His first reaction appeared to be quite tough. He instead accused Turkey of protecting terrorists, and running to its NATO allies for discussion instead of setting up close ties with Russia to investigate the incident and to avoid them in the future.

“Our jet was attacked when it was at an altitude of 6,000 meters and 1 kilometer from the Turkish border,” he added.

Putin also highlighted that Russian jets were conducting air raids against terrorist targets in Northern Latakia, where militants predominantly from the Russian Federation are concentrated.

Perhaps symbolically, Putin made his first statements about the downed Russian fighter jet during a joint presser with Jordanian King Abdullah.

Diplomatically. it might signal that Jordan stands by Russia.

Amman and Moscow have already set up close coordination between their air forces to avoid any incidents in the skies over Syria.

Moreover, during the last Syria talks in Vienna it was decided to let Jordan head the process of drawing up a common list of terrorist groups who are operating in Syria.

Working with Europe

The downing of the Russian fighter jet comes ahead of French President Hollande’s diplomatic tour to bolster support for his country’s campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS).

Hollande met with the UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday and is today meeting with US President Barack Obama.

On Wednesday, he meets with German Chancellor Merkel before meeting with Putin on Thursday.

Hollande is undertaking this shuttle diplomacy in order to ultimately build an inclusive anti-terrorist coalition. However, today’s incident might affect the whole process of building the coalition.

“The president [Putin] clearly stated that this could not but affect Russian-Turkish relations. In this context, it was decided to cancel the meeting between Russia’s and Turkey’s ministers of foreign affairs, which was planned for tomorrow [November 25] in Istanbul,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists today.

Follow the oil trail

During the presser, Putin mentioned that Russia has for a long time been aware that huge amounts of oil are flowing to Turkey from ISIS-controlled territories; revenue from illicit oil sales has been providing terrorists with a significant source of money.

After it was confirmed last week that the crash of the Russian commercial Airbus A321 in Sinai was an act of terrorism, Moscow intensified it’s military campaign against Islamist extremist targets in Syria, concentrating among others on oil trucks, oil production and refinery infrastructure.

In one week, Russian airstrikes destroyed more than 1,000 oil trucks and reportedly sparked an economic crisis in ISIS-controlled territories.

Some analysts argue that Turkey decided to shoot down a Russian fighter jet only after airstrikes severely damaged ISIL’s storing, production and transportation capabilities.

Another reason for today’s escalation may have to do with Russia crossing a Turkish red line – not to bomb Syrian Turkoman militia who have strong ties with Ankara.

There might be many other reasons but the bottom line is that Turkey’s decision to shoot down a Russian warcraft quite clearly will lead to changes in Russia-Turkey relations. and the realization that Moscow’s air campaign in Syria is not cost-free anymore.

The mere fact that Russia suffered the first death of its pilot during the combat sortie casts a shadow on the previously smooth military campaign, which until now had not faced any major setbacks.

Military campaign to continue

This fighter jet is one of many SU-24s deployed at an air base in Latakia, Syria [Xinhua]

This fighter jet is one of many SU-24s deployed at an air base in Latakia, Syria [Xinhua]

What can be said for sure is that Russia will not halt its airstrikes against terrorist targets in Syria.

However, the Kremlin will be very cautious about its further combat sorties in Syria in proximity to the Turkish border.

As a response to today’s incident, the Russian Defense ministry will start to enhance the security of its forces in Syria:

  1. It announced that all combat sorties of Russian bombers will be accompanied by fighter jets.
  2. Russian air defenses in Syria will be enhanced with the missile cruiser Moskva stationed near the Latakia coastline. It’s air defense capabilities are equal to that of the S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile system.
  3. Russia will also cut off military contacts with Turkey.

Moscow will also likely wait until Turkey makes a mistake and then punish it.

It might come in the form of the publication of proof that Turkey sponsors ISIL and the Jabhat an-Nusra militia, and provides assistance to jihadists flocking to Syria.

In the midst of this parlay, it is worth bearing in mind that Russia is Turkey’s largest gas supplier.

Some 20 per cent of Turkey’s total energy consumption comes from Russia; so it is one of the possible tools which can be used to influence Ankara’s policy.

Russia traditionally has good relations with the Kurds – one of the main headaches for Erdogan. This factor also can be utilized by Russia.

However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia-Turkey relations were distinct thanks to the pragmatism of Moscow and Ankara and their ability to separate politics from economic links.

Given their very close business, economic and tourist ties, the two countries are unlikely to sacrifice economic benefits they managed to achieve over the decades.

In Washington today, US President Barack Obama could not confirm whether the Russian plane was shot down in Turkish airspace when asked several times during the joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande.

So far it seems that neither the US nor NATO wants to rush to judgment.

It seems likely they decided to leave this incident just between Russia and Turkey and distance themselves from the fallout.

After NATO’s council meeting in Brussels earlier today its Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the organization is not in direct contact with Russia on the incident.

As a result, we should not expect any major escalation between Russia and Turkey (NATO) or long-term opened tensions between the two although they have now definitely entered a new stage of relations which will lack the usual degree of warmth.

But it is quite certain that on the diplomatic level all parties will try to use this incident in their favor.

By Alexey Khlebnikov for the BRICS Post in Moscow, Russia

Alexey Khlebnikov is a Middle East analyst and the Senior Editor at Russia Direct.
You can follow him on Twitter @alekskhlebnikov.

2 Responses to Analysis: Putin rebukes Turkey’s ‘protection’ of terrorists


    November 24, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Since the Second World War, the US government is probably the greatest terrorist CRIMINAL of all times. It:
    BOMBED Hiroshima-Nagasaki (1945) 90,000–146,000 people killed in Hiroshima and 39,000–80,000 killed in Nagasaki
    BOMBED China in 1945-46 and again in 1950-53
    BOMBED Korea in 1950-53
    In Korea, nearly 3 million civilians were murdered by the USA and its allies. Civilians were murdered at No Gun Ri and many other places. The USA supported the fascist puppet regime in South Korea. The South Korean government carried out genocide against both North and South Korean people.
    BOMBED Guatemala in 1954, 1960, and 1967-69
    BOMBED Indonesia in 1958
    Up to one million innocent civilians died in Indonesia after the CIA put Suharto into power in Indonesia. At least one third of the population of East Timor died after the USA gave Suharto permission to invade that country.
    BOMBED Vietnam in 1961-73
    North Vietnam did not want a war. The US military-industrial complex made sure that there was a war. Through the Phoenix Program, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese were tortured to death in “interrogation centers”. These torture centers were built by the United States. Women were always raped as part of the torture before being murdered. This terrorism, rape and mass-murder was the policy of the USA. The My Lai massacre itself was an operation of the Phoenix Program. Up to 5 million Vietnamese were killed in the Vietnam war.
    BOMBED Congo in 1964
    BOMBED Laos in 1964-73,The United States Air Force dropped the equivalent of a planeload of bombs every eight minutes for nine years on the people of Laos — from 1965 to 1973. OVER 2,000,000 TONS.This was some of the heaviest aerial bombardment in world history.Estimated civilian deaths: 500,000 men, women and children.
    BOMBED Peru in 1965,
    BOMBED Cambodia in 1969-70,
    BOMBED El Salvador throughout the 1980s,
    BOMBED Nicaragua throughout the 1980s,
    BOMBED Lebanon in 1983-84,
    BOMBED Grenada in 1983,
    BOMBEDBosnia in 1985,
    BOMBED Libya in 1986,
    BOMBED Panama in 1989,
    BOMBED Iraq in 1991 and later
    BOMBED Sudan in 1998,
    Former Yugoslavia in 1999,
    BOMBED Afghanistan in 1998 and 2002.
    BOMBED and DESTROYED Iraq 2002-2006
    BOMBED and DESTROYED Libya in 2011
    On 9 11, 1973, Salvador Allende, the President of Chile, was killed in an American-sponsored coup, led by General Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet’s rise to power, organised by the CIA and Henry Kissinger, began nearly twenty years of military dictatorship that led to thousands of deaths. 30,000 people were massacred in the weeks following this September 11th, as Pinochet tried to wipe out those who opposed fascism.
    The Congo was given a military dictatorship thanks to the CIA assassination of Patrice Lumumba. The Congo conflict has led to at least 3 million deaths.
    In Cambodia, America (and Britain) backed Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot who killed nearly 2 million Cambodians.
    Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, Greece, Iran… All of these and more suffered from torture and death as a result of American ‘intervention.’
    Many thousands of Afghan and Pakistani civilians have died as a result of U.S. led air and drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    Many Germans died after the end of World War II due to the harsh policies of the USA. A survey conducted by the German government stated that some 1.4 million German prisoners died in captivity; many of them died in American captivity.
    “Since before the end of WWII the United States Corporate Mafia Government has been hell bent for total world domination, by any and all means necessary, no matter how brutal — including the slaughter of as many millions of innocent civilian men, women and children as it takes to accomplish that goal.” file a case inside America by your office and in the international criminal court and UN Human Rights Council to trial all elected American public officials who abused themself worldwide to bring JUSTICE PEACE LOVE RULE OF LAW TO ALL VICTIMS !!
    Human Rights Watch
    September 24, 2015 Rwanda: Rounded Up Off the Streets The Rwandan authorities are arbitrarily…

  2. Viktor Kozeny Reply

    November 24, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    Russia’s likely response to Turkey downing its jets will be Russia’s massive arms supplies to Kurdish separatist in the East to punish Turkey. This will escalate conflicts along all sides of Turkey’s border and along Turkey – Iraq border in particular.

    President Vladimir Putin now has two reasons to supply advanced arms to Kurdish separatists – (i) downing of Russia’s jets over Syria to punish Turkey which openly does business with ISIS and other terrorists at large scale and (ii) as an indirect response to the destabilization of Ukraine to turn Turkey into Ukraine type scenario – it seems that the only winners are the Kurds who will sooner or later get their own state – the losers are Ukraine and Turkey which did now become the zone of long term instability. How long can Turkey remain part of NATO is an open question especially with a new Kurdish state. However it is not out of question that Russia may also supply advanced portable weapons to other hotspots including Central America in response to the US arming Syrian separatists with missiles.

    Russia will now likely massively use vacuum bombs, lethal high-power microwaves and even conventional ballistic missiles along the full length of Syria – Turkey border to cut all oil trade of ISIS with Turkey and to punish war crimes agains Russian pilots. Further one has to expect significant increase of Russian air to air advanced fighter presence as well as stationing advanced long range and possibly nuclear missiles in Syria to fortify its position with the possibility to signing a permanent much larger Russian military base in Syria.

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