The Russian Plane Made Two Ten Second Transits of Turkish Territory 344


radar

This is the official Turkish radar track of the Russian aircraft they shot down, in red. It briefly transited a tiny neck of Turkish land – less than two miles across where the Russian jet passed – twice. I calculate that each “incursion” over Turkish territory would have lasted about 10 seconds, assuming the plane was flying slowly at 600mph. That Turkey shot down the plane for this is madness, and absolutely indefensible. It is fairly obvious from the track that the plane was operating against Turkish sponsored Turkmen rebels inside Syria, and that is why the Turks shot it down.

But the inescapable conclusion is that the true madness would be for the UK to get involved in Syria and make a complex and volatile situation still worse, and risk being dragged into wider conflict.


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344 thoughts on “The Russian Plane Made Two Ten Second Transits of Turkish Territory

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  • Mark Golding

    “But the inescapable conclusion is that the true madness would be for the UK to get involved in Syria and make a complex and volatile situation still worse, and risk being dragged into wider conflict.”

    Perfect.

  • fedup

    Apoptosis is a bitch! Turks have a track record when it comes to self destruction! In the fashion of WWI the constant militarism and the constant promotion of martial spirit ended up in let’s see who can kick butt the best contest and millions dead later the culprits were chastened somewhat only to go and plan the next war, and it seems the devil seed lasts for ever and now we are back to the genetic memory going back to WWI but with a heck of lot more fire power than these morons could sanely handle and survive!

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    Turkish warplanes regularly overfly Greek air space in the Aegean but the Greeks do not shoot them down (or try to).

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    There is not going to be a Russian-Turkish military conflict, never mind a wider one. But prudence is essential.

  • Ken2

    Turkey’s scared of Russia, Backtracking like mad. Mad, Bad and dangerous. What a bunch of lunatics. Turkey’s voting for a Christmas roast.

  • K Crosby

    I bet Sultan Erdogan starts feeling a bit lonely, when he finds that none of their brave boys in nato will sit anywhere near him.

  • Johnathan

    If you didn’t want your plains to get shot you shouldn’t have violated other countries airspace. You can get away with such behavor with swedes on brits but not from Turks. There is a lesson for russians right there.

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    Golding

    “on the ball” means “on the ball” – ready to react rapidly – so stop being cute.

    But I admit you’d have been happier if it had been a Turkish warplane that got shot down, you Putin lickspittle.

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    K Crosby

    “I bet Sultan Erdogan starts feeling a bit lonely, when he finds that none of their brave boys in nato will sit anywhere near him.”
    _______________

    I’m sure he and the Turks will manage quite well by themselves, so stop trying to be cute.

  • K Vaughan

    Thanks for this Craig, and am glad the Guardian shared your insight. I hope it helps clarify to the general public and that our own Government take your view.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Never mind Russians crossing into Turkey (even for 20 seconds) and never mind number of previous provocative crossings and harassing of Turkish jets by Russians. Never mind bombing shit out of Turkmen’s and forcing thousands of them leave their homes as a result.

    Kremlin gizza is testing NATO article 5. If he senses that White House gizza is bluffing then some Turkish jets could be shot in response (over Syria). Invading Turkey is however; not deliverable task for the Kremlin gizza.

    There have always been (and especially after success in Crimea) military staff in Russia who dream taking control of Black Sea straits. Without controlling straits Black Sea is just as useless (in military terms) as Caspian Sea or Baikal lake. This has however; been impossible to deliver even during the mighty soviet empire.

    If some of you recall Caribbean crisis was triggered by US placing its nuclear in Turkey which soviets took as crossing red line and responded by moving their nukes to Cuba. And yet again Turkey could trigger yet another deep crisis bordering with all out nuclear war.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    In the meantime oil prices are rising (something kremlin gizza was trying to achieve) as the result of possible wider conflict in the middle east. Russian economy has been suffering as the oil (and gas) prices plummeted and were trying to find ways of preventing further drop and were looking for ways to reverse the trend.

    It could be that short confrontation with Turkey (and possibly with Saudis) could do the trick. Kremlin gizza have named 40 nations as assisting IS and stated that some of them were members of G20. White house gizza seemed to be quite as usual.

    We will see in the next few days how far kremlin gizza is prepared to go and how far he is allowed to go (by white house gizza).

    Worrying times ahead.

  • K Crosby

    “I bet Sultan Erdogan starts feeling a bit lonely, when he finds that none of their brave boys in nato will sit anywhere near him.”
    _______________

    I’m sure he and the Turks will manage quite well by themselves, so stop trying to be cute.

    Laughed! I nearly did.

  • Tom Welsh

    This has all the dirty fingerprints of Washington on it. Just like the coup in Kiev, the burning alive of 46 pro-Russian demonstrators in Odessa, the shooting down of MH17, and the bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268.

    It’s an obvious provocation, designed to make the Russians strike back in anger. Of course they won’t – they are always several steps ahead of the stupid Americans. I expect that Russia will retaliate, but in unobvious ways and not necessarily right away.

    The Turks would never have dared take such a committal action – an act of war against Russia – unless they had the firm support of the US government. Indeed, they may have pledges of military support should the Russians commit acts of war in retaliation.

    So the Russians won’t.

  • N_

    Let’s be scrupulously accurate, please.

    1) According to the Turkish authorities, who have circulated a radar track they say is genuine, the Russian plane made two 10-second transits of Turkish airspace.

    2) According to the Russian defence ministry, the plane did not enter Turkish airspace, and they say have tracking information which supports that statement, which they have not released.

    The truth doesn’t matter much in the progress of events, but no doubt internet chatterers will gabble different views about latitudes and longitudes, as if they were US lawyers.

    3) After the Russian civilian plane was brought down over Sinai, having taken off from an airport crawling with British security, British and US intelligence agencies rushed to present themselves as having better intelligence about the attack than the Russians themselves did.

    Given the previous Russian superiority in psychological war, which was pretty obvious and has been widely acknowledged in whinging western articles about those dastardly Russians and their mastery of “new” info and cyber capabilities, I was surprised that the west got in such powerful blows. The war will, of course, continue. There have been a very large number – probably over 1000 – Russian bombing raids against Daesh since the Sinai action.

    War between the great powers, WW3, has for some time been the way this is heading.

    It’s inevitable.

    @Uzbek, did you know that Istanbul has a starring role in Daesh’s apocalypticism? The death cult’s loony line goes:

    1) big land battle between caliphate and “Rome” at Dabiq (in Syria, near Turkish border)

    2) caliphate conquers Istanbul

    3) an anti-Messiah, the Dajjal, comes from Iran and whacks the caliphate

    4) as caliphate gets cornered in Jerusalem, Jesus returns and leads them to victory

    I leave aside the question of the Mahdi.

    Let’s take the geometric mean of Islamic and Christian apocalypticism maybe, and throw in a red heifer.

    And Uzbek, what’s a “gizza”?

  • Tom Welsh

    The Turkish press release states quite unequivocally that the Su-24 was shot down by Turkish F-16s. Yet a photograph released by the Turks shows the pilot and bombardier parachuting down in Syria! And the Turks admitted that they sent a helicopter into Syria to pick up the two Russians. Thus the Turks freely admit that they shot down the Su-24 while it was in Syrian airspace, and that they then violated Syria’s territorial integrity with their helicopter mission.

    Implication 1: The Su-24 wasn’t there for practice; it was presumably there to bomb a significant terrorist target: a headquarters, ammunition dump, or something of that kind. What does it tell us that such terrorist installations remain, undisturbed, right next to the Turkish border?

    Implication 2: Next time any Turkish aircraft strays (or “strays”) into Syrian airspace, it will be snuffed out.

  • N_

    @Tom

    Russia will retaliate, but in unobvious ways and not necessarily right away.

    The Turks would never have dared take such a committal action – an act of war against Russia – unless they had the firm support of the US government.

    You got it.

    Indeed, they may have pledges of military support should the Russians commit acts of war in retaliation.

    They have: the NATO treaty. But I agree, yes, an agreement that’s more specific.

    Even just looking at the psywar, Russia will not stay on the back foot for long.

  • Tom Welsh

    @Ken2,

    “They are now calling an extraordinary NATO meeting. To decide who to bomb?”

    When the only tool you’ve got is a hammer…

  • N_

    @Fredi – WW3 has already started: not the physical conflict; the psywar. This is no “cold war”. Psywar always starts before the physical conflict.

  • Tom Welsh

    @Johnathan,

    “If you didn’t want your plains to get shot you shouldn’t have violated other countries airspace”.

    Are you going to tell the Yanks and the British, or shall I?

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