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24 Nov, 2015 15:17

'Why down Russian jet? Because fighting ISIS is not really on Turkey's agenda'

'Why down Russian jet? Because fighting ISIS is not really on Turkey's agenda'

Turkey has been consistent in pursuing its own agenda: to pretend to be fighting ISIS while settling scores with one of the two parties that are actually capable of fighting ISIS on the ground – the Kurds, says Foreign Affairs Editor Srdja Trifkovic.

As a Russian Su-24 fighter jet operating over Syria was shot down, RT discussed with experts the reasons and possible consequences of this incident.

READ MORE: Putin: Downing of Russian jet over Syria stab in the back by terrorist accomplices

Srdja Trifkovic, Foreign Affairs Editor:

"It is perfectly consistent with Turkish behavior since it ostensibly joined the anti-ISIS campaign last July.

Over 80 percent of the tonnage of their bombs would drop on the Kurds fighting ISIS in Northern Syria and North Western Iraq. So, in fact Turkey has been consistent in pursuing its own agenda which is to pretend to be fighting ISIS while settling scores with one of the two parties that are actually capable of fighting ISIS on the ground, the other being, of course, the Syrian Army.


But I think this is a reckless move by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to throw spanners in the works of Russia’s increasing profile as the only serious player from the outside who is trying to do something.

Patience that we are now witnessing between France and Russia.

So, I think Erdogan who has been increasingly reckless and prepared to take serious gambles in recent years is now trying to up the ante and force the rest of NATO into a gesture of solidarity with Turkey. Of course, if you have the F-16 right in the air even before the Russian jets allegedly violated the airspace it was evidently a set-up. It was a deliberate trap which Erdogan down the chain of command had ordered to set up because he wants to test Russia’s response and he also wants to use or rather misuse Turkish membership of NATO to force the rest of the alliance into a virtually anti-Russian posture while at the same time sabotaging the fight against ISIS with which he secretly sympathizes. So, there are a number of motives for him to act this way in my personal opinion, when you put it all together, it is quite clear why he did it.

It will really poison the relations between Turkey and Russia".

Russian actions in Syria spooked Turkey

Catherine Shakdam, from the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies says that the timing of the attack on the Russian plane indicates that Turkey is afraid Russia might find proof that Ankara is working with terrorists.  

"The downing of the plane now is very telling about the relationship that Turkey has harbored with the radicals in the region and particularly ISIL, but not only ISIL – we have many, many groups in the region, we have al-Nusra, al-Qaeda...

The timing of this attack and the very fact that Russia was about getting rid of those financial veins towards ISIL, suddenly, I would say, maybe spooked Turkey a little bit - whether Russia would find out about technicalities or maybe undeniable proof on the ground that Turkey is working with terrorists or whether it is just a money flow will be stopped... There are many, many links between Turkey and ISIL. I think money is one of the least of them".

Russia: no interest in violating Turkish airspace

Aleksandr Pavic, political analyst:

"Russia has no interest in breaching Turkish airspace.

Even under the remote possibility that something like that happened, it would clearly be something that wasn’t on purpose. So, in any case Turkey, to say the least, overreacted knowing very well how serious the consequences would be. So, we need to think about what were the motives of Turkey for doing this. Just a few days ago the Security Council brought a resolution on the united fight against terrorism, specifically mentioning ISIS, Al-Qaeda and all related terrorist organizations related terrorist organizations which meant a call for the entire world to fight against the terrorism which we clearly identified. So, why is Turkey shooting a key, leading member of this anti-terrorist coalition. This is a question that must be answered…"

Turkey-Russia: major diplomatic row

The problem here is that we are seeing social media pictures, so, we have not got all the facts clarified yet, said Julian Bray, aviation security expert.

"The Russians are quite clear, they say they didn’t violate Turkish airspace and it is possibly a surface to air missile that brought it down. Meanwhile, the Turks are saying it was one of their aircraft – a Turkish F-16 fighter jets that actually brought the Russian plane down which is very worrying anyway. So, they really have to sort this one out because there is a major diplomatic row going on. They referred it back to NATO, but it is a complete mess…"

Russian jet downed over Syrian territory

A Russian fighter jet was targeted inside Syrian territory where Russia has been fighting against ISIS, Marwa Osman, political commentator told RT.

"We are talking about a plane which was targeted inside Syrian territory – that is the territory that Russia has been dealing with and working within for the past, say two month, or a month and a half.  Turkey has been warning Russia - we have heard and read a lot about what the Turks were telling the Russians; and even the Russian ambassador the other day – telling him that they were violating certain standards or certain forms by targeting these Turkmen villages... If these villages were actually inhabited by civilians we wouldn’t have seen right now the very unfortunate footage of the Russian pilot being detained and captured by militants".

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.