While most of us were enjoying our Thanksgiving meals with our friends and families, tensions with the actual country of Turkey and Russia came very close to their respective boiling points. On the morning of November 24th two ‘unknown’ aircraft at the time were fast approaching Turkish airspace and were “warned 10 times over the space of five minutes via an ’emergency’ channel and asked to change direction”. After the initial warning broadcasts, Turkish jets were scrambled and responded to the now deemed ‘threat’ aircraft, to which, one of these aircraft left Turkish airspace as one continued to slalom within it. This fighter was ultimately shot down, leading to the discovery it was of Russian origin. The conflict here however is a ‘he aid, she said’ scenario, where heads of state of both Turkey and Russia claim that the aircraft did/did not violate Turkish airspace respectively. As one of the attached images shows, both governments have a different interpretation of the flight path of the Russian fighters. The official reaction from both governments was defensive of their reasoning, while Russia claimed the airspace was not violated and accused Turkey of housing ISIS affiliates and agents, Turkey, with the backing of NATO, remains steadfast in their defense system and does not intend to backdown to release an apology to the Russian government.
This conflict however is not only isolated between Russia and Turkey. Secretary-General to the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon pleaded not to have this incident ‘escalate’ relations between the two countries. US President Barack Obama made similar comments to ensure ‘tensions wont boil over’. Though it many not be a direct response to these specific comments, Turkey has not infringed upon Greek airspace in the hours and recent days following the downing of the Russian aircraft. This is interesting due to the fact that Turkish fighters and various aircraft have violated Greek airspace on a constant basis, “In particular 2014 was marked with a sharp increase of Greek airspace violations by the Turkish Air Force, which amounted to 2,244 incidents” which is as many as 6 incidents a day. Though this holds similarities to the Turkish-Russian conflicts, Greece leads by passive example by not firing upon Turkish aircraft out of all these incidents, though the greek government can see why Turkey chose not to fly into greek airspace following the days of the incident.
Finally, following the events on November 24th, Russia has not remained quiet after their initial accusations and remarks towards the Turkish government. Russia has now sanctioned Turkey in various aspects as a form of punishment or retaliation for their accused actions; Some of these sanctions include vast amounts of food and raw materials that Turkey finds essential for their infrastructure. “Russia is one of Turkey’s largest markets for exports, after Germany”, which can pose problems to the Turkish economy as well as their internal infrastructure, but this raises the question if these sanctions will be justifiable if the Russian aircraft did in fact violate Turkish airspace. The conflict is now on a race against time, partially for an apology, but also against to spoilage of food, intended for the Turkish populous.
As the world grows tense every passing day, we must not let these sort of events escalate into rash and irrational acting. The questions we need to ask are weather the current actions taken by the governments of Russia and Turkey are justified and not overreaching. An investigation also needs to be conducted by an outside party to figure out the true events of that morning of November 24th for accurate prosecution and reprehensions to be made.