22:15 GMT26 January 2020
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    Russian Su-24 Jet Downed Over Syria (276)
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    A hardline response from Russia to the downing of its Su-24 bomber by a Turkish jet in Syria was inevitable, Turkish former culture and tourism minister Ertugrul Gunay told Sputnik. According to him, the incident will have a serious impact on Russian-Turkish economic and diplomatic ties.

    "Russia’s response to the Turkish actions was inevitable. I believe that the incident will have rather an economic and diplomatic – not military — impact on Turkey," he said.

    On Tuesday, a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber crashed on Syrian territory four kilometers from the Turkish border. The aircraft was shot down by a Turkish F-16 jet. One Russian pilot was killed, the other was rescued.

    After Germany, Russia is Turkey’s second largest trading partner in Europe. Over the last 10 year, Russian-Turkish ties in tourism, trade, energy and culture have been on the rise, he added. However, Russia’s and Turkey’s positions on the Syrian crisis have been different from the beginning.

    "I hope we would overcome the current tensions via diplomatic dialogue. Turkey should abandon its wrongful policy on Syria and take a firm stance against ISIL," he pointed out.

    Commenting on the possible impact of the incident on Russian-Turkish relations, Gunay said: "The last year was difficult for tourism. This year we have seen a 30-percent decline in the tourist industry. If Russian bans its tourist from travelling to Turkey this would be a problem for our economy."
    Russia and Turkey are involved in many large-scale economic projects, including trade and energy.

    "Tensions between Russia and Turkey could create numerous problems for regional security as well as the Turkish economy," he underscored.

    "The incident with the Russian bomber was expected to provoke a hard response from Russia. Turkey downed a Russian warplane, one pilot was killed. This is more than just a clash of opinions between the two countries. In this situation, Russia could not turn a blind eye to the incident," Gunay explained.

    "One should not forget that the Russian bomber posed no threat to Turkish security. It was flying in Turkish airspace for 30 or even 20 seconds. That was not an attack against Turkey. That was just a mistake in the flight route which was tackled in a radical manner," he said.

    According to Gunay, now the Turkish government should prove that the incident was undeliberate, and the Turkish Air Force pursued no other goal but protecting the airspace.

    "Any strong statement will only have negative consequences for Turkey. Our country has many economic, social and security problems. A conflict with Russia would have negative effect on Turkey in all spheres," he concluded.

    Topic:
    Russian Su-24 Jet Downed Over Syria (276)

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