One day before a scheduled visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Turkey, Turkish planes shot down a Russian military jet. Both sides are exchanging accusations.
The incident took place during a very critical time while Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting Iran, and French President François Hollande is in consultations with his US counterpart. Forming a large coalition that combines the US-led coalition and Russia to fight terrorism in Syria is the target of all those talks. The future of Al-Assad is the point of conflict.
On the downing of the military aircraft, Putin said the tragic event will have “significant consequences, including for Russia-Turkish relations”. He described Turkey as “accomplices of terrorists”, claiming that large amounts of oil from militants in Syria end up in Turkey. Putin called this a “stab in the back”.
A NATO official told AFP the organisation is in “close contact” with Ankara and reviewing developments after key alliance member Turkey shot down the Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border. Putin asked whether Turkey wants to push NATO to serve the “Islamic State” (IS) militant organisation.
Further, one day after Hollande met with the British Prime Minister David Cameron in Paris, and hours after Turkey shot the Russian aircraft, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond insisted Turkey will remain a “very important partner” for the UK.
The incident on Tuesday is expected to have a major impact on the attempts to form a “large coalition” in Syria and on fighting IS, if Russia decides to take serious action.