Su-24 Downing: Turkey Fails to Get Its Story Straight

Ankara's version of what transpired when a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24 aircraft over Syrian territory is full of major inconsistencies, said Petar Vojinovic, the editor-in-chief of Serbia's Tango Six website.

"Instantly attacking a plane that just entered foreign airspace is strange. Furthermore, Russia refuted accusations that the violation occurred in the first place," Vojinovic told Sputnik Radio. Moscow said that the Su-24 was flying an anti-ISIL mission over Syrian territory.

Turkey claims that it issued ten warnings in the 17 seconds the Russian plane allegedly spent in Turkish airspace. This where the facts as presented by Ankara do not add up, the expert maintains.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, presidente de Turquía - Sputnik International
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In addition, the rescued navigator of the downed Su-24, Konstantin Murahtin, said that the plane did not cross into Turkey and the crew received no audio or visual warnings from Ankara. "There was no contact. This is why we were keeping our combat course as usual. … If they wanted to warn us, they could have sat on our wing," he noted.

Even if we imagine that the Russian plane did violate Turkish airspace, as Ankara suggests, it would have been strange to do anything about it, Vojinovic emphasized.

"Turkey claims that it warned Russian plane ten times. Issuing so many warnings would have taken five minutes. Here lies an inconsistency – they say the violation lasted 17 seconds but they would have spent five minutes issuing warnings," the expert pointed out.

Preparing to fire an S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft missile at the Ashuluk proving grounds during an Aerospace Defence Forces tactical drill - Sputnik International
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Vojinovic mentioned that the pilot is not responsible for making such decisions. "He opens fire if he is attacked or if he receives an order." The expert also stated that there are no universal rules on how to act in case of airspace violations, which happen daily.

On Tuesday, the Turkish Air Force brought down the Su-24 bomber, which was engaged in anti-ISIL efforts in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin described the incident as a "stab in the back by accomplices of terrorists."

After the Su-24 was hit by a missile, the two pilots ejected. The navigator was rescued in a 12-hour operation by Russian and Syrian special forces, while the other pilot appears to have been killed while descending to the ground by militants from a Syrian Turkmen brigade.

Vojinovic called the death of the Su-24 pilot "a classic murder."

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