Russian-Turkish ties are put to the test


The shooting down of the Russian SU-24 bomber excessively strained relations between Russia and Turkey. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Turkey's leaders purposefully supported the  country's Islamization. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov canceled his visit to Turkey. Lavrov said that the shooting down of the bomber   was a 'planned  provocation.' However, Russia is not  quite  ready for a war with Turkey, and it is  unlikely that the relations between the two countries will change dramatically.


Facing Russia's tough reaction, President Erdogan echoed the  stance. “Nobody should doubt  that  we made  our best  efforts  to  avoid  this incident. But everyone needs to respect Turkey's right to  defend its borders,” Erdogan said  in a speech. 


NATO's major concerns


US President Barack Obama expressed his hope that  Russia  and Turkey could  prevent  an  escalation  of  tensions. He also expected  that the two countries  would step back and  without prejudice take actions on the basis of their own  interests.


It is noteworthy that back in October, the United States warned that the "invasion" of a Russian warplane in Turkish airspace may lead to the escalation of the conflict and that Turkey can take steps to protect its sovereignty and can shoot it down. US officials also noted that the US military did not participate in the incident. However, it is impossible not recall that at the beginning of Russia's fight against ISIL, US Secretary of State John Kerry said: "Russia will soon suffer  casualties,   Russian planes will be falling."


Due to the incident, Turkey requested a convention of an emergency meeting of the NATO Council. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after the meeting that NATO allies stand in solidarity with Turkey. He also expects further expansion of Turkish-Russian relations and hopes that the two sides keep calm under the circumstances to avoid unnecessary escalation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, talks with U.S. President Barack Obama, right, during a session of the G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey
© Anadolu Agency via AP, Pool
Turkey's Excuse: US Ambushed Russian SU-24

British FM Philip Hammond said that the downing of the Russian SU-24 is "potentially a serious incident."  He also stressed that "Turkey is an important NATO ally.

"It holds the key to a number of important questions both in relation to the battle against ISIL but also in relation to the migration challenge that Europe faces, and it will remain a very important partner for this country and for the European Union."


The former chairman of NATO Military Committee Harald Kujat believes that if an aircraft entered the airspace of another state, it is violating the international law, but "even in this case, one should not shoot down the plane." Kujat said that Russia and Turkey have to be very careful in holding negotiations, in order to avoid further escalation "otherwise it will be a disaster."


China also follows this  incident  closely. Some  details  remain to be  clarified, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said Wednesday at a press conference. China supports  the  international community's  counterterrorism efforts, and it hopes  all parties  will  strengthen  their  communication  and coordination, the Chinese diplomat said.


A shadow over prospects in the fight against ISIL


French President Francois Hollande said during his recent visit to the United States that the incident was "very regrettable."


A day after Hollande's US visit, the French daily newspaper 'Le Figaro' said that Turkey's actions complicated the process of the international forces to combat terrorist organizations. Both Turkey and Russia are important for France, but there are irreconcilable differences between the two countries. An absence of mutual understanding about Bashar al-Assad regime and the fight tactics against the ISIL does not allow Turkey or Russia to be considered as allies. France is not likely to solve its own problems with the help of such allies.


Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the conflict between Russia and Turkey would not affect the global alliance against the ISIL. He stressed that Russia will continue to carry out operations to combat terrorism on the territory of Syria within the framework of international law, and downed Russian bomber hasn't affected the determination of Moscow to do so. However, some analysts believe that the concept of terrorism will never be the same.