ISTANBUL, November 24, 2015– On Tuesday, Turkey brought down a Russian warplane near the Syrian-Turkey border after the Russian jet reportedly entered Turkey’s airspace after 10 warnings not to do so. According to the White House, the intrusion lasted only a matter of seconds.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the act a “stab in the back that will have serious consequences for Russia’s relationship with Turkey.”
Meanwhile, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States, Sedar Kilic, shot back at Putin in a tweet.
“Understand this: Turkey is a country whose warnings should be taken seriously and listened to. Don’t test Turkey’s patience. Try to win its friendship,” wrote Kilic.
President Obama has called upon Turkey and Russia to deescalate the situation and said that Russia should refocus its mission.
“The problem has been Russia’s focus on propping up Assad rather than concentrating on ISIL,” said Obama.
A deputy commander of rebel Turkmen forces in Syria that claimed responsibility for shooting down the Russian jet says the pilots ejected before he shot down the warplane.
Initial reports were that the two pilots of the jet were dead. However, a Turkish government official told Reuters otherwise.
“Our units, who received the information that the two pilots were alive, are working to get them from opposition rebels safely,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Russia is contradicting Turkey’s claim that both Russian pilots are alive. The RIA news agency reports that Russian military staff say one of the pilots is dead.
NATO’s North Atlantic Council is currently holding an emergency meeting in Brussels. Thus far, some NATO officials are quoted as saying that Turkey should have used more restraint.