On Wednesday Russia and Turkey promised not to go to war over the downing of the Russian military jet, although Turkey refuses to apologize.
Before shooting down a Russian military jet last Tuesday, Turkey repeatedly warned the plane to steer away from Turkish air space. A Pentagon spokesman has confirmed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement that the Russian Su-24 jet was warned 10 times in five minutes before it was shot down by a Turkish F-16. Russia insists that its jet never left Syrian air space.
Turkey’s undersecretary of national defense, Ismail Demir, said that they had been expecting something like this to happen because there have been many similar incidents in the past months. However, analysts say there are other reasons why Turkey may have fired on the Russian jet, including issues with Syria, and Turkey’s strong ethnic ties to Turkmen villages being bombed lately by Russia near the area where the crash occurred.
Turkey has refused to apologize for shooting down the jet, and says that Russia’s response has been “unfitting” and “emotional.” Russia has threatened to cancel projects with Turkey and ties could be cut.
The downing of the Russian military jet by Turkey is the most serious clash between Russia and a NATO member for 50 years, and tensions in the Middle East have escalated. Moscow has announced that it plans to deploy anti-aircraft missiles to Syria. Both Turkey and Russia have accused the other of supporting terrorism.
Talks had been scheduled for Wednesday between Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, and Turkish officials to discuss Russian bombings of Turkmen villages. The talks have been cancelled. Sergey Shoygu, Russia’s defense minister, said that Russia will be installing S-400 defense missile systems on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. The missiles have a 250 kilometer range. The Turkish border is only about 45 kilometers away.
Economic weapons are also being drawn. Russia has announced that it will be increasing controls over agriculture and food imports from Turkey, with “additional checks on the border and at production sites in Turkey.” They cite “repeated violations of Russian standards by Turkish producers.”
On Wednesday both Turkey and Russia promised not to go to war over the downing of the military jet, but Turkey’s NATO allies and the rest of the world remain nervous.