Image 01 Image 03

“This will get complicated”: Turkey Warns, Shoots Down Russian Fighter Jet

“This will get complicated”: Turkey Warns, Shoots Down Russian Fighter Jet

…after 10 warnings in 5 minutes

Today U.S. officials confirmed that the Turkish military fired upon a Russian jet when it repeatedly violated Turkish airspace near the Turkey-Syria border.

The jet crash landed in the Jabal Turkmen area of the coastal Syrian province of Latakia, and it is now believed that both pilots have died under fire from rebel Turkmen forces.

More via Fox News:

U.S. defense official said that two Turkish F-16s fired heat-seeking air-to-air missiles at the Russian aircraft.

“This will get complicated,” the official said.

Tuesday’s incident is the first time since the 1950s that a Russian or Soviet military aircraft has been publicly acknowledged to have been shot down by a NATO country, according to Reuters. Russia’s main stock index dropped more than 2 percent after the incident, while Turkish stocks fell 1.3 percent amid fears of an escalation between the two countries.

Russia said the Su-24 was downed by artillery fire, but Turkey claimed that its F-16s fired on the Russian plane after it ignored the warnings.

Fox has posted amateur video claiming to show the crash:

The BBC used information from the Turkish Defence Ministry to sketch out what reportedly happened:

russian plane shot down

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:

I have previously expressed my concerns about the implications of the military actions of the Russian Federation close to NATO’s borders.

This highlights the importance of having and respecting arrangements to avoid such incidents in the future.

As we have repeatedly made clear, we stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO Ally, Turkey.

We will continue to follow the developments on the South-Eastern borders of NATO very closely.

I look forward to further contacts between Ankara and Moscow and I call for calm and de-escalation.

Diplomacy and de-escalation are important to resolve this situation.

Vladimir Putin, however, quickly turned the tables on the Turks, claiming that the actions of the Turkish military were directly related to coalition efforts to back Syrian rebels against the Assad regime.

From the BBC:

President Putin described the downing as “a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists”, an apparent reference to Turkey’s support of Syrian rebel groups seeking to overthrow Mr Assad.

“Our pilots, our aircraft posed no threat to the Republic of Turkey. That much is obvious,” he stated.

Mr Putin said the incident would have “significant consequences” for Russia’s relations with Turkey and warned: “We will never tolerate such atrocities as happened today and we hope that the international community will find the strength to join forces and fight this evil.”

This is where it “gets complicated.” We’ve written previously about the uneasy relationship between coalition forces and the Russians when it comes to Syria; Russia continues to buck coalition demands that Assad steps down, and has on more than one occasion used its considerable air presence in the region to fire upon anti-Assad rebels during missions billed as efforts to attack areas controlled by ISIS.

Turkey claims to have acted according to its rules of engagement, while Russia claims that its planes were no threat to Turkish security. Putin is baiting the issue here, and while I don’t expect this incident to sink us into World War III, we can count on these tensions to further degrade coalition efforts to create a cohesive front against the spread of ISIS.

Follow Amy on Twitter @ThatAmyMiller


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Lego Insurrection | November 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Next thing you know… BREAKING NEWS: A persecuted, Russian-speaking minority group has been found living in Turkey! 😉

First Putin exposes Obama as a paper tiger by rolling his tanks into Ukraine and taking Crimea. Nice little naval port on the Black Sea. NATO? Ha! But I’m sure he’d love unfettered access to the Med even more.

Once again we see that a race-baiting community organizing, Marxist punk just isn’t up to the job of CiC, even after all the years of on-the-job training. If his teleprompter doesn’t tell him what to say/do, he is revealed as a blithering moron. Putin knows it and continues to take advantage of it. Obama’s colon will be prolapsed by the time Putin and the Mullahs are done pounding his ass.

    Your description of that contrived rat was nearly perfect, and almost describes Hillary Clinton as well.

    One addition to your list of insults: you forgot to call him a traitor.

So let’s see..perhaps the Turks could have escorted the plane out of their territory? Why did they have to shoot? And who fired on the parachuted Russian pilots while they were descending to the ground?

    There’s actual answers. The Turks could have escorted the plane out, but having publicly threatened Russia with shooting its planes down in precisely this scenario, they consciously chose not to; and the people who themselves claim, and have put out video in purported backing of this claim, that they shot at the parachuting Russian pilots and killed them, are Turkmen, ethnic kin to Turks but living within the borders of Syria, and having lived within the borders of what we now call Syria for quite a long time.

    See, Putin had been bombing Turkmen villages because they’re part of the anti-Assad coalition, like the Free Syrian Army, which has put out a film of it blowing up a landed Russian helicopter (search & rescue?) while it was on the ground with a TOW (wire-guided) anti-tank missile.

    So in short, it is a fine mess. And the Turks were happy to make it an even bigger one to make a point, knowing NATO is obligated to defend it up to and including thermonuclear warfare, so Russia can’t attack it directly over this.

      Kondor77 in reply to JBourque. | November 24, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      Right on. One could make the argument that if our current leaders had any huevos – they’d use this incident to finally convince Putin that directly helping Assad will only drag out the Daesh problem. Putin would probably hate going back on his word(s) to protect and defend his ally Assad – but outside of that his big worry is keeping his Syrian bases and influence.

      It’s another situation in which strong American leadership could move us past the current cluster****.

      PhillyGuy in reply to JBourque. | November 24, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      Yes, Turkey just happened to have someone taking video at the exact moment the missile struck the plane.

    alaskabob in reply to PhillyGuy. | November 24, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    With the incursion into Turkish airspace (Turkey being in NATO, but even more so best buds with Obama), Putin would have to anticipate such a scenario. It may in the Russian playbook to push the envelope with NATO since Putin still eyes the Baltic states. Russia may be probing again to see how far it can go. No really stern words from Obama… just a call for an alcohol-less “Beer” summit of Turkey and Russia. Considering the state of affairs, do not bet against Russia even if the Pres considers them just a regional power (with the nuclear ability to turn the world into ash).

The Turks have been publicly warning the Russians about airspace violations for weeks already. The Russians have been deliberately provoking an incident and finally pissed on the wrong tree. Being BFFs with Assad is becoming rather troublesome for Putin.

Don’t Russian pilots have any elbows to steer with? Seems they didn’t really need to fly over Turkey.

Orders are orders.

When Obuthead talks to Putin do banjoes play in the background?

I don’t trust putin at all.
I trust turkey a whole hell of a lot less.
turkey gets a pass and nato membership due to bosperus straits.

    I trust that Putin will take some strong action, thereby distinguishing himself from obama-of-strongly-worded letters.

buckeyeminuteman | November 24, 2015 at 4:33 pm

Killing the pilots who parachuted out, either while in the air or once they’ve reached the ground, is a direct violation of the Geneva Convention. But hey, if Russian fighters flew over the US, I’d hope our CINC would have the balls to do the same.

    There have been for two or three months now, news reports of Russian planes violating U.S. airspace.

    Reaction from Obama: silence.

    Turkish papers are reporting the pilots are alive and being held by rebel forces. It said the original reports they were shot coming down were not true. Take that with a grain of salt. Turkey also claims its air space has been violated at least 114 times this past year and all incidents had been handled peacefully. These lasted from 20 seconds to several minutes. Most involved Greece, but also included Italian and Israeli planes. Just don’t care for Russians I suppose.

I don’t trust Turkey at all. This doesn’t sound right.

    PhillyGuy in reply to PhillyGuy. | November 24, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Even if you believe Turkey (which I don’t) the plane was flying a direct route over a narrow strip of Turkish territory (disputed by the Russians) and was immediately re-entering Syrian airspace. There has to be some sort of rule of engagement for that type of brief violation.

    Turkey has already been caught violating Greek airspace earlier this year.

      PhillyGuy in reply to PhillyGuy. | November 24, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      I guess 2 things are bugging me. One, what the heck was a Russian jet doing there? ISIS is much further to the east in Syria. And Two, a Russian jet flying at 400 mph over a 2.5 mile stretch of contested territory (Turkey claims it is theirs, Syria disagrees) will cross it in SECONDS. That means that Turkish jets were just itching to shoot that plane down because they absolutely knew it would cross back into Syrian territory without incident.

      What is going on with Turkey and Russia? What is the game here?

        Look at a map of the region, and imagine yourself as Putin with no direct year-round ocean access for your navy.

          clintack in reply to Paul. | November 24, 2015 at 8:04 pm

          According to my map, Russia has quite a bit of year-round access to the Pacific Ocean.

          Paul in reply to Paul. | November 24, 2015 at 11:13 pm

          Actually no. Ice and Siberia are significant impediments to almost all of their naval ports. Naval access is a major strategic driver for Russian military actions.

        Merlin in reply to PhillyGuy. | November 24, 2015 at 8:27 pm

        The Russians are targeting anti-Assad forces, not necessarily IS targets. That’s why they refuse to coordinate their activities with us… they’re going after the groups Obama is covertly supporting.

        Russian aviators are notorious for their military gamesmanship. We’ve had legendary encounters with them over the decades, almost none of which make it into media reports. Probing for a tactical response is routine and weapons hot incidents do happen. Perhaps the Russians pushed the game a bit too far today. Early news reports reported the Turkish F-16s using “heat seeking missles”, which would almost certainly make them all-aspect AIM-9s. This was not a BVR standoff encounter. This happened up close.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to PhillyGuy. | November 25, 2015 at 10:59 am

    There is no reason to trust…historical evidence overwhelming not to trust any Islamist – ever.

This could be Russia’s Gulf of Tonkin moment.

If the Turks were concerned about Islamic State and the refugee crisis, they would join, not oppose, the international coalition. I wonder where the pro-refugee crisis people will stand on this apparent escalation and effort to derail confronting the terrorists.

I have a question –

After everything that has happened in the Middle East in the last couple of years, why does anyone over the age of 12 think it’s a good idea to get rid of Assad?

Yes, he’s a monster. Please point out to me the possible replacement that is not going to be several orders of magnitude worse.


    CloseTheFed in reply to DCP. | November 24, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Amen, brother.

    n.n in reply to DCP. | November 24, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Assad was a monster. As was Gaddafi. As was Gandhi when he fought for India’s independence. Today, Assad has not invaded a neighboring nation, and serves as a reformer and peacekeeper among Syria’s contentious religious, ideological, and secular factions. As did Gaddafi. As did Gandhi.

I keep hearing this line from “The Hunt For Red October” …

Admiral Josh Painter: This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.

I have never heard of “open channels” in aircraft. If I remember correctly, ATC made several fruitless efforts to talk to the hijacked airliners of 9/11. We certainly did not have access to all the communications from the planes on an open channel.

This little piece of BS proves that the entire story is crap. There is no way that any military plane has an open channel to a foreign country. How stupid do they think we are? And if there actually is such a thing, why wasn’t every plane we flew over North Vietnam shot down, since the enemy could listen to our communications?

Turkey sucks.

    Merlin in reply to platypus. | November 25, 2015 at 12:43 am

    It is SOP for both civil aviation and military aviation (air and surface) to monitor what are known as guard channels. Civil air traffic uses VHF 121.5 MHz , if I remember correctly. Military uses UHF 243.0, but if capable you can use either. They amount to emergency frequencies used for distress calls or warnings, but not for chatter. ATC worldwide monitor these frequencies and so do most military assets.

    As an example, these are the frequencies a NORAD interceptor would use to make initial contact with a target and then move them to another channel. Turkish interceptors would have done the same… and any asset within radio range monitoring the guard channels would have heard it.

Russia bombs Turkmen…. pilot said NO WARNING –

Which is most reliable? Don’t trust either, but trust Turkey less than Russia, since Erdogan is trying to cover for Obama’s farce of a war against ISIS and the cover-up and falsification of intelligence reports.

Russia is the country that shoots down civilian aircraft that fly over their territory (with or without clearance) and without any warnings. We have Korean Air Lines 007 in 1983, and more recently alaysian Airlines Flight 17. Then again, they shot down an unarmed U2 piloted by Gary Powers in 1960. I would think that the Russians would endorse Turkey’s right to shoot down aircraft that violate its airspace – or do they want to grant other nations the right to send armed aircraft over their territory?