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Turkey ‘Ambushed’ Russian Su-24 to Protect Its 'Proxies' in Syria

© Sputnik / Go to the photo bankSU-24 bomber
SU-24 bomber - Sputnik International
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The shooting down of the Russian Su-24 bomber was a planned attack and a trap set by the Turkish Air Force, Dr. Mark Galeotti, the Professor of Global Affairs at the New York University, told Radio Sputnik.

"What it in fact seems to be, as many are saying, it was more of an ambush than anything else," Galeotti told Sputnik.

By downing the Russian plane, Turkey had two things in mind. First of all, Ankara wants to assert itself as a powerful regional actor, especially considering Russia's active participation in Syria. The Turkish government thought that by shooting down its plane Turkey would make Russia take Ankara more seriously in the future.

Secondly, the Turkish government wanted to protect its allies, whom Russia's currently bombing in Syria, Galeotti, an expert in Russo-Turkish relations, explained.

Turkey intends to protect ISIL, as it has direct financial interests involved in the delivery of oil extracted from ISIL-controlled territories. Various estimates place oil revenues generated by ISIL somewhere between $40 and $50 million a month. A day prior to the downing of the Su-24, Russian airstrikes destroyed over 1,000 semi-truck tankers carrying crude oil to ISIL refineries, a large oil storage facility and an oil refinery in Syria.

Interestingly, back in 2012, when the Syrian Air Force shot down a Turkish plane for repeatedly violating Syrian airspace, Erdogan was furious and said that a brief violation of a country's airspace shouldn't be a pretext to shoot down a plane.

And now, we can see double-standards at their best. Even if the Russian plane hypothetically violated Turkish airspace for a short period of time it wasn't a reason to shoot it down. There definitely were other options to solve the problem, the US expert told Radio Sputnik.

Russian Sukhoi Su-24 jet takes off from Hmeymim Air Base in the Latakia province, Syria. - Sputnik International
Russian Jet Downing Shows Turkish Anti-Terror Stance ‘Two-Sided’
The Russian Su-24 Fencer bomber was shot down by two Turkish F-16s Tuesday morning while conducting operations over Syria.

One of the pilots from the downed Su-24 was rescued by the Syrian Army Tuesday morning. The other pilot was killed by fire from the ground after ejecting from the plane. A Russian naval infantry soldier also lost his life after an Mi-8 chopper was downed during a rescue operation.

The Turkish president said that Ankara acted in line with its sovereign right to respond to threats, claiming that the Russian jet had violated Turkish airspace.

However, flight data released by the Russian Ministry of Defense shows that the Su-24s never entered Turkey, and were attacked while performing legitimate maneuvers over Syria.

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