ISTANBUL — Turkish fighter jets on patrol near the Syrian border on Tuesday shot down a Russian warplane that Turkey said had ignored numerous warnings and violated its airspace, in a long-feared escalation that will further strain relations between the NATO member country and Russia.
NATO announced that it would hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday in Brussels to discuss the episode, as credible reports were emerging from Latakia Province, where the Russian jet went down, that rebels possibly wielding TOW antitank missiles and other weapons had hit a Russian helicopter sent to the scene of the crash to look for survivors.
In his first remarks on the episode, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia confirmed that an F-16 Turkish fighter jet had shot down the Russian plane, a Sukhoi Su-24, with an air-to-air missile. But he insisted that the Russian jet had been in Syrian airspace at the time.
Continue reading: Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane Near Syrian Border
Commentary by The Secular Jurist: This blog has been warning readers about the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing that is governing Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This guy has no love for peace nor for the honest practice of pluralistic democracy. He is a fundamentalist Sunni Muslim and closet theocratic authoritarian who is committed to the eradication of his nation’s Kurdish minority as well as the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad (a member of the rival Shiite Islamic sect known as Alawite).
Erdogan’s ideological sympathies align with the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS, ISIL) not against it. That is why he cannot be trusted in the West’s counter-terrorism war against Islamist militants (i.e. Jihadism), and why Turkey – under his rule – is no ally of the United States.
In our opinion, this deadly provocation by Turkey was intended to drive a dangerous wedge between American-Russian cooperation against ISIS solely because Vladimir Putin is supporting the Assad regime in Syria.
In other war-related news: Errors cited in U.S. airstrike on Doctors-without-Borders hospital in Afghanistan