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Rubio: If Threatened, the U.S. Must ‘Respond and Defend’ Turkey

Rubio: If Threatened, the U.S. Must ‘Respond and Defend’ Turkey

A nasty situation all around

Earlier today, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter plane after repeated warnings.

According to the Turkish military, officials warned “an unidentified aircraft” ten times over the course of five minutes that its path would violate Turkish airspace over the border town of Yayladagi, in Hatay province. A spokesman for U.S. officials leading the coalition from Baghdad confirmed that his team heard Turkish officials give those warnings over “open channels.”

NATO called an emergency meeting today to address rapidly escalating tensions between Turkey and Russia, where Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stood in solidarity with Turkey.

According to The Telegraph, Obama spoke with the Turkish president who’s said they’re working to avoid any repeats of todays events:

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, has spoken to Barack Obama by telephone. The Turkish presidency said: “They were in accord on the importance of de-escalating tensions and making arrangements to prevent a repeat of such incidents.”

They also expressed their commitment to a bringing about a transitional political process for peace in Syria and joint determination to continue the fight against Isil, the statement added.

Shortly after news of the skirmish broke, Senator Rubio joined Fox News and was asked how the U.S. should respond. Rubio explained that if Turkey finds itself threatened by Russia, the U.S. must respond and defend the Turks.

Rubio spoke to this issue in one of the first presidential debates.

Rubio said:

It’s pretty straightforward: He wants to reposition Russia once again as a geopolitical force. He himself said that the fall of the Soviet Union, the destruction of the Soviet Union, was the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century. And now he’s trying to reverse that. . . . He is exploiting a vacuum that this administration has left in the Middle East.

Here’s what you’re going to see in the next few weeks: The Russians will begin to fly combat missions in that region — not just targeting ISIS, but in order to prop up Assad.

Here’s to hoping we don’t find ourselves in a situation where we have to decide whether or not to intervene on behalf of the Turks.

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Sammy Finkelman | November 24, 2015 at 9:21 pm

They also expressed their commitment to a bringing about a transitional political process for peace in Syria

This is delusional.

Sammy Finkelman | November 24, 2015 at 9:24 pm

But Obama probably thinks its mazimum of 4 or 5 months till Putin will see he has to agree to that, and defeating ISIS can wait till they get everybody else together.

Rubio again. Sure, tough guy, let’s start WWIII over Turkey.

Lucien Cordier | November 24, 2015 at 9:37 pm

If Turkey invokes Article 5, screw ’em. Turkey is not our friend. What we should be doing is arming and assisting the Kurds and Yazidis toward establishing a Kurdish state in in the Kurdish parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Let them first drive ISIS west toward Assad and South toward Saudi Arabia. Russia can then do as they please in Syria, Jordan will be happy to kill as many as they can to keep the savages out of their country, and the Saudis will have to get their hands dirty for a change, and the Saudi reaction will have to be so extreme that it may serve to suppress their #2 export, Wahabi terrorism. Keep the Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians and Turks busy for a long time. Biden may have been correct about dividing up Iraq some years ago.

    Article 5 is for armed attack/invasion. Turkey was not attacked. Article 5 does not apply.

    Turkey has been our friend over the years. Turkey fought with us in Korea and provided us with access to watch over the former USSR back in the day. Turkey also was the one friend Israel had in the ME for many years. And, while Turkey has been somewhat shaky in its relationship with Israel for some time, there’s still a bit of one yet; that needs to be firmed up on both sides; more on the Turkish side. Also, while Turkey has been less stalwart a friend of US in recent years too, it still remains a friend unless Obama can come up with more ways to screw that up too; recall his goal of radically transforming the USA!

    So, don’t throw Turkey overboard because you don’t like it, or maybe don’t like Erdogan, who has radically changed Turkey in many ways not to the benefit of secular Turks; who do exist.

    Turkey is doing now what it is for several reasons, some of which pertain to its own national interests. Lastly, international relations are never quite simple nor clear cut and often decisions are unfortunately nuanced, for reasons unclear to others.

      Milhouse in reply to Doug Wright. | November 25, 2015 at 1:45 am

      The Turkey that was our friend is gone. Erdogan has fundamentally transformed Turkey, he’s purged the military of all those who are loyal to the old values, and who would eventually have taken up their constitutional duty and ousted him, and he aims to become the new Caliph of all the Sunnis. That’s the real reason he opposes IS; he wants the job. GWB should have dumped the Turkish alliance the day Erdogan screwed us over the Iraq invasion, and allied us with the Kurds instead.

      rabidfox in reply to Doug Wright. | November 25, 2015 at 2:49 am

      As I recall, at the last minute Turkey didn’t let our jets overfly their country at the beginning of the Iraqi invasion thus cutting off our invasion from that direction. This resulted in a longer conflict and more American lives lost.

      There is also evidence that Turkey is the nation that is buying ISIS oil and thereby funding them. Erdogan, I suspect, is more inline with ISIS than with either Europe or the US over what’s going on and I wonder if he is passing his intel (received as a NATO member how is supposed to be fighting ISIS) on to ISIS.

      PhillyGuy in reply to Doug Wright. | November 25, 2015 at 9:57 am

      Even if we stipulate that Turkey’s version of events are correct (and the Russian foreign minister pretty much shredded that), who in their right mind would shoot down a plane flying in a straight line over a tiny strip of their territory for 17 seconds? To top it off, the plane was shot down in Syrian territory and conveniently videoed by someone who just happened to be ready for it. On top of that, they were warning the Russian plane 10 times while it was flying in Syrian territory? Come on.

        PhillyGuy in reply to PhillyGuy. | November 25, 2015 at 12:48 pm

        Could someone who knows aviation tell us what the regular cruising speed of that Russian jet is? Then we could quickly figure out whether their claim of 17 seconds even makes sense.

Rubio called it, just saying how obvious it was.

    mathewsjw in reply to Valerie. | November 25, 2015 at 2:12 am

    ‘repond & defend’ Turkey aka going 2 war with Russia over Turkey defending ISIS/Islam is just as Brian Fellows would say ‘that’s crazy talk!!’

Numerous intelligence data sources (declassified) have confirmed that Turkey is supporting ISIS to a serious degree and giving them safe haven inside Turkish borders–not to mention Turkey’s purchase of ISIS oil from truck convoys (intelligence data out of Europe states the purchases to be in excess of $1 billion of the last several years). I’m tired of politicians making stupid statements; being ignorant of basic intelligence data. Rubio had lost my vote years ago, so this changes nothing for me–except make me even more anti-Rubio. It is going to take more than a light-weight like Rubio to clean up the mess Obama is leaving us. He’s not up to job of being President. Unfortunately, these days, few Republicans are.

Guys, bad as Turkey is… if we don’t back Turkey, Russia’s taking back the Baltic States.

Putin’s playing chess. Obama has a bishop marrying two knights in his Malibu Barbie dreamhouse.

Rubio is a nut job.

So Rubio wants to protect Obama’s best ally….and best bud. The GOP-E wishes to capitulate on foreign affairs also? There is a tremendous amount of intel missing needed to steer through this mess and even comment on the issue, but Turkey was key to Benghazi with Stevens’ meeting that night of the attack and his death. Turkey was (is?) key for shipment of arms into the mess… something both Obama and Clinton know about. It is tragic that possibly the least dirty in this mess is Putin. One thing is for sure, the Russians play hard and for keeps. Libya, Syria and Iraq are greater hell holes now than before Obama helped rewrite Middle East history…. especially to the detriment of the US, and Middle Eastern Christians, Jews, and other non-Muslims.

Russia will be having Turkey right around Thanksgiving.

It is horrifying to realize who the president of the U.S. really is. Equally horrifying is finding oneself drawn more to Vladmir Putin than the the American president.

2016 is going to be a hellish year, as the fascist boy-president and his commie-mommy Valerie Jarrett go for broke.

BTW, did Rubio get Schumer and McCain’s permission before he came out with this statement?

it’s problematic to “respond & defend” Turkey when Turkey’s defending ISIS/Islam and also killing/genocide Kurds.

Rubio disqualifies himself as not knowing the players or motivations… Erdogan’s obviously attacking Russia to get NATO support for ISIS/Islam against Syria/Assad/Russia

    rabidfox in reply to mathewsjw. | November 25, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Turkey also wants NATO support for their war against the Kurds. That is Turkey’s REAL war and the motive for their military action.

No, if Turkey illegally shot down a Russian Plane then we have no obligation to do more than to encourage them to apologize and make restitution. Russia is not going to invade Turkey over one plane.

    kenoshamarge in reply to Gremlin1974. | November 29, 2015 at 9:15 am

    Given that Turkey’s economy is tightly tied to Russia it was stupid beyond belief that Erdogan ordered the plane shot down. Putin doesn’t need to “attack” Turkey, he just needs to strangle their economy. Just as we try to strangle Russia’s. Same game different players.

Sorry but Barack is only going to war with Republicans. Feckless fools who don’t shoot back. Go McConnell.

What about when Turkey decides to claim to be threatened by the rest of Cyprus it doesn’t illegally occupy, invade them, take the gas fields and go to war with Israel over it? Because that’s a lot more likely to occur.

Wasn’t Rubio being touted by the press just one week ago as being so knowledgeable about foreign affairs and now he rushes out to show his stupidity to join with Rags, Hillary, Fiorina and Jeb that we must start world war 3 with defense of our non-ally Turkey and Syrian no fly zones.

What moron savior will the GOPe try to turn to next?

Outright support of Turkey in this complicated situation shows that Rubio is not up to the office he seeks. The situation is murky. Reports state that the US thinks the Russian aircraft was in Turkish airspace for 17 seconds. The Russians report that there was not adequate warnings and one of the surviving pilots asks why didn’t the Turkish jets fly alongside as is customary. More appalling is the US reports that the jet was shot down in Syrian airspace. There is no right of hot pursuit in this–the Turks either through lack of discipline or willingly escalated the situation and would seem to be in the wrong by international law.

As Turkey is supporting rebel Islamic fighters within their borders and Russia has Syria’s concurrence for military operations in Syria, it seems we have a Pancho Villa PErshing situation where Russia was some rights along the border.

All of this is a tense situation and is not a case where we need to give outright support of an errant ally. If Rubio had the FP chops he thinks he has, he would know this. Turkey is skirting a risky line supporting rebels that even the US doesn’t back. Standing back and applying international law and custom is the way ahead. The Turks should have flown alongside the Russians before taking hostile actions. Right of reprisals brings up dicey situations.

Is there any confirmation that the Russian jet WAS warned 10 times or even one time (any confirmation other than the Turks saying so)? I find it hard to believe that they made the warnings seeing as how the Russian was attacking Turkmen fighters who are near and dear to the Turkish heart.
The Turks have other reasons to stop the Russians by trying to bring in NATO and one of those reasons is that they are buying oil from ISIS, thus funding ISIS and getting oil dirt cheap at the same time. The fact that the jet fell almost straight down and hit in SYRIA tells a lot about whose territory it was over when hit. Everybody has a camera nowadays so I don’t put much stock in the call that the cameraman was planted just to record this but that is a possibility.
There was a comment about backing the Turks because Putin is getting bold and may take the Baltic states. We don’t need a war with Russia over something the Turks may have engineered themselves and we can deal with the Baltic states if that comes up. It strikes me that what happened between the Turks and Russia may be just like assault law in my state—-you can call upon the law to help and protect you if you are assaulted but if you started it or consented to the fight (mutual combat) then the law will back out because the fault will be shared and you are fair game. We need to tread lightly here because the present administration is not to be relied upon to allow the military we send to do what is necessary to finish the fight if we jump in on the Turkish side.