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    Turkish Military Wouldn't Have Downed Su-24 'If They Knew It Was Russian'

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    Russian Su-24 Jet Downed Over Syria (276)
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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the country's intelligence agency were aware that the plane they were about to shoot down was in service with the Russian armed forces and they downed it anyway, Osman Aydogan, a retired brigadier general, asserted, referring to the November 24 incident.

    At the same time, the Turkish military was not aware that it was a Russian aircraft, told the Haberdar news website. Otherwise, the plane would not have been downed.

    "We have to take a look at the statements that Turkey made following the incident. Military leaders were the first to comment, saying that 'a plane of unknown nationality was brought down.' Then President Erdogan confirmed that it was a Russian jet. Finally, Davutoglu said that he himself gave the order to shoot down the Russian plane," Aydogan noted.

    Turkey's top brass could have mistaken it for a Syrian plane, he suggested, because they no longer have the means to determine aircraft nationality.

    A combination picture taken from video shows a war plane crashing in flames in a mountainous area in northern Syria after it was shot down by Turkish fighter jets near the Turkish-Syrian border November 24, 2015
    © REUTERS / Reuters TV/Haberturk
    A combination picture taken from video shows a war plane crashing in flames in a mountainous area in northern Syria after it was shot down by Turkish fighter jets near the Turkish-Syrian border November 24, 2015

    The Turkish General Staff Electronic Systems Command (GES) is capable of determining the plane's country of origin as well as its flight path. But the agency is not a part of Turkey's armed forces. Four years ago GES was transferred to MIT.

    It follows then that Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MIT) could determine the type of plane.

    "I think that the National Intelligence Organization, President Erdoğan and the prime minister were aware that it was a plane in service with the Russian Air Force, while the Turkish military did not have access to this information," he said.

    If the Turkish Armed Forces were aware that it was a Russian plane, "they would not have brought it down even if it had violated Turkish airspace for 17 hours, not 17 seconds. Turkey's top brass understood what implications this move could have," Aydogan noted.

    GES should have given this information to the military, he added.

    The incident took place on November 24, 2015. Turkey's Air Force shot down the Russian Su-24 bomber that was on its way back from an anti-Daesh mission in northern Latakia, citing airspace violations. The Russian Defense ministry released the plane's flight path. The chart confirmed that aircraft did not cross into Turkey.  

    The copilot, who was retrieved in a rescue operation, also said that the aircraft remained in Syrian airspace for the duration of the flight.

    The incident led to a major cold spell between Turkey and Russia, with Moscow slapping economic sanctions on Ankara.

    "Ill-considered statements from Turkey following the incident and senseless swagger led to friendly ties with Russia being severed. Economic implications of this move were grave. Turkey's tourism also took a beating, let alone a sharp decline in imports and exports," Aydogan noted.

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

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    Tags:
    bilateral relations, Syrian conflict, incident, Su-24, Downing of Russian SU-24, Turkish Armed Forces, Turkish National Intelligence Organization, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Russia
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