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    Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber takes off from Hmeymim Air Base in the Latakia province, Syria.

    (Un)calculated Risk: Su-24 Incident Wasn’t ‘a Bolt From the Blue’

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    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)
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    The situation with the Russian Su-24, which was downed by the Turkish Air Force in November, wasn’t something unexpected, as the relationship between Russia and Turkey had already become tense after Moscow began its anti-terrorist bombing campaign in Syria, French political journalist Adrien Lelievre wrote for Les Echos.

    Relations between the two countries soured dramatically after Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 jet over Syria four kilometers from the Turkish border on November 24. The bomber was shot down by an air-to-air missile fired by a Turkish F-16 fighter.

    Although the incident shocked the international community, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling the attack a "stab in the back" carried out by "accomplices of terrorists," Lelievre thinks that the downing of the Su-24 wasn't a bolt from the blue.

    According to the French journalist, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn't like the fact that Moscow was increasing its military presence in Syria and attempting to create an international anti-terrorist coalition to fight Daesh, also known as ISIL/ISIS.

    "The incident with the plane occurred as Russia and France were working towards building a united anti-terrorist coalition against Daesh," Lelievre said.

    Turkey clearly didn't like that idea, as Ankara desperately wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gone. If West, led by France, and Russia began working together in Syria, Turkey thought the issue of al-Assad would get somewhat forgotten and put on the back shelf, as long as the coalition was effectively fighting against Daesh, Lelievre explained.

    At the same time, the Russo-French-led international coalition would have put Russia on center stage in Syria, something that Ankara clearly didn't want to see, the journalist added.

    According to the French journalist, Turkey is losing the most because of this quarrel: not only the country's economy will take a hit, but also Turkey will keep hosting over 2 million Syrian refugees due to the ongoing Syrian conflict.

    "Until the Syrian issue is resolved, diplomatic relations between Turkey and Russia risk ‘swimming in muddy waters," Lelievre said.

    The journalist reminded how different things were just a year ago, when Erdogan and Putin met to discuss joint business opportunities aiming to bring the volume of trade between the two countries up to $100 billion, as well as build new energy cooperation.

    And now Turkey has given up all of that, but for what?

    Topic:
    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)

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    Russia’s Allies 'Turning Away' From Turkey After Downing of Su-24
    Tags:
    bad diplomacy, Su-24, Syrian crisis, Daesh, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria, Russia
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