01:51 GMT +324 March 2018
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    U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle sits after shortly landing Nov. 12, 2015, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey

    Su-24 Downing: Turkey Pushing Washington to Head-on Collision With Russia?

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    Russian Su-24 Jet Downed Over Syria (276)

    Incidents like the Su-24 downing could bring the US into "direct conflict" with Russia, conservative political commentator Patrick J. Buchanan noted, calling what happened on Tuesday "a provocative and portentous act."

    "Something US presidents conscientiously avoided through 45 years of Cold War – a military clash with Moscow – could become a real possibility. Does the White House see what is unfolding here?" he asked. "Was the US government aware Turkey might attack Russian planes? Did we give Erdogan a green light to shoot them down?"

    On November 24, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Su-24 bomber involved in Russia's counterterrorism operation in Syria.

    Ankara claimed that the aircraft had violated its airspace, although it was shot down over Syrian territory. Russian officials and the Su-24 pilot, who survived the crash, insist that the plane did not cross into Turkey. Moreover, the crew, according to the pilot, did not receive any warning prior to the attack.

    Buchanan believes that the alleged airspace violation was used as a pretext. The real reason for downing the Russian warplane has more to do with geopolitics. 

    Erdogan was outraged "by Putin's success in securing the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, whom Erdogan detests, and by relentless Russian air strikes on Turkmen rebels seeking to overthrow Assad," the analyst observed.

    Incidentally, Syrian Turkmen militants were the ones who fired at the Su-24 pilots while they were descending to the ground. One of them was killed.

    Turkey has overtly supported rebel groups, who are seeking to change the regime in Syria, to the point when it has become evident that Ankara, as Buchanan put it, "is on the rebel-jihadist side."

    "As of today, Putin supports U.S.-French attacks on ISIS. But if we follow the Turks and begin aiding the rebels who are attacking the Syrian army, we could find ourselves eyeball to eyeball in a confrontation with Russia, where our NATO allies will be nowhere to be found. Has anyone thought this through?" the analyst lamented.

    Russian Su-24 Jet Downed Over Syria (276)


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    confrontation, politics, Su-24, Downing of Russian SU-24, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, United States, Russia
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