war on the rocks

Turkey Shot Down a Russian Jet: What World Leaders are Saying (Live)

November 24, 2015

News broke this morning that a Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter jet allegedly violating Turkish airspace near the Syrian border. The Russian jet crashed into Syrian territory and both pilots ejected into Syrian rebel-controlled areas (one was shot and killed on his way down; the other is reportedly in custody of a rebel group).

The incident is fraught with tension between Russia, Turkey, and the rest of NATO (of which Turkey is a member). War on the Rocks will be tracking world leaders’ statements related to the shootdown throughout the day.

UPDATED: 3:00 PM EST

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking in Sochi, Russia, calls the shootdown a “stab in the back,” denies that Russian jet was in Turkish airspace
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has canceled a planned visit to Turkey
  • The deputy speaker of the lower house of the Russian Duma (parliament) has asked the Russian aviation agency to banning flights between Russia and Turkey until it can be established that there are no “sources of terrorist threat at Turkish airports”
  • Putin has vowed “serious consequences” for the shootdown
  • Turkmen rebels claim to have killed both Russian pilots who ejected the downed aircraft
  • Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu defends the shootdown
  • EU President Donald Tusk has called for both Turkey and Russia “to remain cool-headed and calm
  • Syria’s information minister referred to the shootdown as a “new crime” by rebels and their backers
  • At Turkey’s request, NATO will hold an emergency meeting later today
  • Turkey has reportedly provided written notification of the shootdown to the UN secretary general and the five permanent members of the UN security council, and has made diplomatic contact with representatives of Russia, the U.S., the UK, and France
  • The U.S. military is reportedly confirming radar tracking and radio transmission monitoring of Russian, Turkish aircraft involved in the incident
  • UK Prime Minister David Cameron has called for lines of communication to remain open between Russia and Turkey in the wake of the crisis
  • President Barack Obama has affirmed Turkey’s “right to defend its territory and its airspace,” and calls for talks between Turkey and Russia “to find out exactly what happened and discourage any kind of escalation”
  • Guardian Moscow correspondent Shaun Walker reports that Turkish Hürriyet news describes a warning delivered to the Russian ambassador to Turkey on Friday regarding Turkey’s right to defend its border and retaliate against any Russian incursions
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gave a statement after NATO’s emergency meeting, saying that NATO “stand[s] in solidarity with Turkey and support[s] the territorial integrity of our NATO ally, Turkey.” The secretary general also called “for calm and de-escalation”
  • NBC News quotes anonymous U.S. defense officials saying that Turkish jets fired on the Russian plane “a matter of seconds” after it entered Turkish airspace. According to the unnamed official, the Russians “were in Turkish airspace only two to three seconds.” The U.S. military has officially confirmed that the Turkish pilots warned the Russians about 10 times in five minutes before firing, as the Russian aircraft flew close to the Turkish border.
  • Putin’s extended comments implying that Turkey is backing ISIL, via Russia Today: “[ISIL] has big money, hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, from selling oil. In addition they are protected by the military of an entire nation. One can understand why they are acting so boldly and blatantly. Why they kill people in such atrocious ways. Why they commit terrorist acts across the world, including in the heart of Europe”
  • Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, has said the secretary general finds the shootdown “worrying” and has expressed his hope that “a credible and thorough review of the incident will clarify the events and help to prevent future recurrences”
  • CNN Turkey reports that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “Nobody should doubt we tried to prevent this outcome,” claimed that Russian aircraft are bombing Turkmen rebels while claiming to target ISIL (via the Telegraph)
  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said: “The president [Putin] has not spoken about any kind of military consequences. From that it should be inferred the president ruled out such statements. Nonetheless, of course, consequences are inevitable after such unfriendly actions by the Turkish side”
  • A spokesman for the Russian general staff has described additional measures Russia will take to protect its strike aircraft: “The General Staff is currently working out additional measures to ensure the security of the Russian air base [in Latakia, Syria]. First: all actions of strike aircraft will be carried out only under cover of fighter planes. Second: measures will be taken to strengthen defense.  To this end, the cruiser Moskva, equipped with Fort air defense systems, similar to C-300, will assume position in the coastal region of Latakia. We caution that any targets, representing a potential danger for us, will be destroyed. Third: contacts with Turkey on military lines will be discontinued”