One day after Turkish air force jets attacked and downed a Russian aircraft near the Syrian-Turkish border, President Obama weighed in on the affair and declared the NATO member has a right to defend its airspace.
Turkey claims the Russian Su-24 “Fencer” bomber violated its airspace.
“Turkey, like every country, has the right to defend its territory and its airspace,” Mr. Obama stated during a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande.
Stopping short of placing blame exclusively on Russia and refusing to implicitly state the Russian bomber did in fact breach Turkey’s sovereignty, the President gently recommended Ankara and Moscow engage in dialogue to avoid further conflicts.
The Kremlin lashed out at Turkey for its role in the loss of the Russian aircraft.
On Wednesday, Moscow announced a planned visit to Turkey by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would be cancelled. The Russian government is also currently exploring sanctions against Ankara.
Mr. Obama is right to defend Turkey, even if Turkey responded more forcefully than the situation justified.
A measure of deep disturbance, Turkey’s stark choice to attack the Russian bomber has amplified the already unbearable anxiety in the region.
While there is little known, if any, ISIS activity in the area where the Turks attacked the Russian aircraft, it remains an arena of combat and the Turks could have executed non-lethal alternatives, particularly escorting the Russian bomber away from their airspace.
Accounts differ as to whether or not the Turks issued warnings to the plane as it neared or actually infringed on Turkish airspace; the Russians deny any warnings were transmitted.
While the President offered a responsible defense of a NATO ally, this incident will eventually have a catastrophic effect on morale for all stakeholders involved.
Overcome with a sickening sense of betrayal, Russia has agreed to continue the nano-scale collaboration which exists with the West; their forbearance in the face of this tragedy reveals a steadfast determination to crush ISIS cruelty.
While the Obama Administration continues with its Potempkin-esque anti-ISIS “strategy,” ISIS seeks to deprive the region of blood and breath; a wholly unsafe atmosphere emerges in the skies above Syria; an unsatisfactory outcome grows closer; and ISIS gains another breathing spell.
[BBC] [Photo courtesy BBC News]