Turkish fighter jets on patrol near the Syrian border on Tuesday shot down a Russian warplane that Turkey said had violated its airspace, a long-feared escalation that could further strain relations between Russia and the West.Question: While I'm certain Turkey has the right to patrol the airspace near it's border, given that ISIS doesn't have any warplanes and Turkey is not at war with Syria, why the itchy trigger finger?
In his first remarks on the incident, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia confirmed that an F-16 Turkish fighter jet had shot down the Russian jet, 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 and had never threatened Turkey’s territory.Now lets make it a given that Putin is going to insist that his plane was on the Syrian side of the border however his claim that his plane did not pose a threat to Turkey is beyond dispute. Again, Russia is not at war with Turkey and as far as I know has no quarrel with Turkey. Therefore, once again, why the itchy trigger finger?
The Turkish military did not identify the nationality of the plane, but said in a statement on its website that its pilots fired only after repeated warnings to the other warplane. Turkey released a map that it said showed that the plane, flying east, was shot down as it transited a narrow finger of Turkish land less than 2 miles wide that juts down into Syria. “The aircraft entered Turkish airspace over the town of Yaylidag, in the southeastern Hatay province,” the statement read. “The plane was warned 10 times in the space of 5 minutes before it was taken down.”Read this carefully. Turkey is saying "unidentified plane" as if we do not know that there are Russian planes flying over Syria. I'm also going to go out on a limb and say that I bet that the Russian planes are NOT unmarked. I call a total lie on Turkey not being able to identify the plane. Secondly, we are talking about a strip of Turkish land that is two miles wide that is wedged into Syria. Let me put this in perspective. I can run 2 miles in under 13 minutes. A professional runner can run that distance in about 8 minutes. A car moving at 60 MPH will cover that distance in 2 minutes. A plane moving at 200 MPH can cover that distance in less than 30 seconds. Turkey is saying that a plane on a legitimate mission against a warring party on the ground posed a threat to a 2 mile strip of land that takes all of 30 seconds to traverse? Really? And this plane was warned 10 times in the space of 5 minutes? It doesn't take 5 minutes to traverse this distance? How did a pilot warn a plane for 5 minutes unless that plane was not in Turkish space at the time of the warnings?
A Turkish official repeated that, saying, “In line with the military rules of engagement, the Turkish authorities repeatedly warned an unidentified aircraft that they were 15 kilometers or less away from the border.”15KM is about 8 miles. 8 miles away? How does Turkey get to warn a plane, flying in Syrian airspace that it will be shot down? Why was Turkey so willing to kill a Russian pilot for allegedly flying over 2 miles of land that takes less than 30 seconds to traverse?
Tensions had been building recently over Russian bombing in the area. Last week, Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador, Andrey G. Karlov, to discuss Ankara’s concerns over the bombing of Turkmen villages in northern Syria and called for an immediate end to the Russian military operation close to the Turkish border, according to a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement. “It was stressed that the Russian side’s actions were not a fight against terror, but they bombed civilian Turkmen villages and this could lead to serious consequences,” the statement said. Ankara has long called for the protection of Turkmens, who are of Turkish descent, in Syria.Aha! Turkey has designs on some of Syria's property. We have seen during the US 2016 debates that there has been calls for no fly zones and claims that Russia is bombing civilians and has no regard for US backed "rebels". The US doesn't want to confront Russia and therefore, IMO, Turkey is being used to test the waters. How Russia responds will set the tone for the future conflict in the region. Even IF the Russian plane was about to on was transiting the two mile strip of land, I cannot see how a state that does not wish to start a war would shoot down such a plane without evidence of some action being taken, about to be taken, or had been taken against it's property. particularly given the situation after Paris, this looks very much like support of ISIS rather than against ISIS. It is all VERY BAD timing. Remember that if there is no response by Russia, Turkey will be emboldened to be more assertive in that area and may in fact try to claim that it will act in protection of people within the sovereign state of Syria. If Russia takes on Turkey, NATO will have to get involved per its pact. And ISIS will be having a good laugh. In the realm of unlikely but not totally unexpected: A Turkish plane finds itself downed in Syrian space after "being warned repeatedly of being within 15km of the Syrian border. Putin however is a pretty masterful player on the international scene, I'm sure this scenario is an amateur move to him. I expect something far more devious.