By Jim Emerson, staff writer
Last week, a Turkish Air Force F-16 shot down a Russian bomber allegedly flying over South Western Turkish territory. The Russians deny that their aircraft violated Turkish airspace. Accusations were made by both sides as to whether the bomber crossed a border, though no maps or data were put out to prove either contention. The Pilot and co-pilot were fired upon while parachuting which is a war crime, but the Turkish forces on the ground in Syria would argue that point. The rebels on the ground fired on helicopters trying to rescue the aircrew. The Russians did manage to rescue one of the aircrew. He claimed that the bomber was shot down with no warning from the Turks for allegedly violating their airspace. A day later Turkey released a tape countering Russian accusations.
Political and military ramifications
Russia is encouraging its citizens in Turkey to leave and cutting trade and agreements with the Muslim nation. Turkey has been arresting and deporting Russians living within its borders. Russia has beefed up Syrian air defenses with S-400 Triumf state-of-the art air defense missile systems. The tensions created by the shoot down may lead to a much bigger war. If Turkey decides to attack Russian forces in Syria, NATO could get involved.
This story takes a new twist
The Turkish government ordered the arrest of two news editors because they published claims that Turkey has been supplying anti-Assad, Syrian Rebels. The journalists were rounded up and accused in an Istanbul court. For years Turkey’s intelligence agency has been supplying weapons to Islamist rebel groups in Syria, mainly the Turkmen forces. Turkey denies the allegations, claiming the nation was only providing aid for Syrian Turkmen, a Turkic minority in the country’s northern areas.
If the Turkish were providing aid, why did the government call its own actions treasonous? In addition, they have a recording at a Border Patrol station describing the aid as weapons. The Russians may have been bombing convoys in Syria, well aware of Ankara’s involvement in supplying rebels- the same rebels who are not only fighting Syrian Forces but Turkey’s enemy, the Kurds. Strange how this unfolds. The F-16 may have been sent to avenge the convoys that have been hit, most likely by Russian bombs.
This incident and the events which follow it are getting stranger every day.