By: Sami Ahmed
On November 24th, a Russian SU-27 multirole jet aircraft was shot down by tailing Turkish F-16’s. The jet went down in a fireball over Turkish territory that was caught on camera. Though both pilot and navigator ejected from the aircraft, one of the pilots was killed after landing (according to the Russian government) by Turkish forces while the other was recovered by Russian search and rescue units.
During the Thanksgiving weekend, a Russian SU-27 aircraft was allegedly flying over Turkish airspace (an accusation that Moscow has continually declined) before it made contact with Turkish radars that intercepted it. The 2 Russian airmen (pilot and navigator) were (according to the Turkish government) warned 10 times to turn back before Turkey dispatched 4 F-16 fighter jets in pursuit of the aircraft. The SU-27 was brought down over Turkish territory, of which it was allegedly flying over for 17 seconds. Though one of the airmen survived and was recovered safely, the other airmen was killed by ground fire after he landed. Turkey has said that he was killed by the radical Islamist rebel faction, Jabhat Al-Nusra which would imply that he landed in Syria. But Russia insists that he was killed by armed Turkish soldiers or village border militia, which would, in turn, imply that he landed in Turkey. This is an accusation that Turkey refuses to accept.
According to the Washington Post, Russia deployed 28 jets and 14 helicopters to Syria. All of these are located in Syrian government territory in airfields heavily protected with Anti-Aircraft weaponry. Russia’s goal in Syria is to back the fledgling Syrian government forces against the Islamic State (ISIL) and the NATO backed rebel forces. While some people argue that Turkey was at fault for downing the aircraft and causing the pilot’s death, others defend Turkey’s actions because Russia has continuously intervened into other countries airspaces without warning (examples are the UK, Poland, Lithuania, and Finland) and that Russia needed to be taught a lesson.
Stuart students who are up to date on current world issues have also expressed some concern over the ordeal. “Turkey gave Russia a fair warning about what would happen if they invade their airspace that they would be shot down and that is exactly what happened. Of course the pilot claimed that they never got a warning but Turkey said they did, we’ll never know who was right but now Russia has lost an aircraft worth millions of dollars. Putin is now spitting propaganda about Turkey buying oil from ISIS, now it’s probably true that Turkey is buying oil indirectly from ISIS but there is no profit and it is just Putin being pissed off. Finally Putin in a brutish ego rage is now cutting off trade from Turkey, this trade is worth millions of dollars and Putin is being foolish, he needs to improve his economy not destroy it further due to ego and pride.” Said Junior Nick Orlando.
In recent news, Russia announced that it will be deploying anti-aircraft missile systems to the Syrian/Turkish border as well as expressed a chilling accusation that Turkey has been purchasing oil illegally from ISIL controlled oil fields. In retaliation, the Turkish army deployed an entire armored brigade to the Syrian/Turkish border just opposite where Russian forces are based. The deployment of this turkish army unit can lead to serious international relations between NATO western countries and eastern countries like Russia, Chinese, and Iran if there was further incident between the 2 countries militaries. This predicament would have certainly turned worse due to Turkey’s membership in NATO. Confrontation would have (and can still) increased between Western countries and Russia and could have led to full blown war.