BREAKING: Turkey Just Shot Down a Warplane Fighting ISIS on the Syrian Border

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 9.02.29 AMGuess we don’t need to ask where their allegiance lies.

Turkish fighter jets on patrol near the Syrian border on Tuesday shot down a Russian warplane that Turkey said had violated its airspace, a long-feared escalation that could further strain relations between Russia and the West.

The Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, ordered the Foreign Ministry to consult with NATO and the United Nations, his office said in a statement, without elaborating. NATO announced that it would hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday in Brussels to discuss the episode.

In his first remarks on the incident, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia confirmed that an F-16 Turkish fighter jet had shot down the Russian plane, a Sukhoi Su-24, with an air-to-air missile. But he insisted that the Russian jet had been in Syrian airspace at the time and had never threatened Turkey’s territory.

Mr. Putin, speaking slowly and clearly angry before a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Sochi, Russia, said the episode would have “serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations” but did not elaborate. He called the shooting down of the Russian jet a “stab in the back” by those who “abet” terrorism, and he accused Turkey of aiding the Islamic State by helping it sell its oil.

Mr. Putin said he found it suspicious that Turkey had reached out to its NATO allies after the episode but not to Moscow. He nevertheless insisted the situation should encourage more cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

As Mr. Putin spoke, credible reports were emerging from rebel forces in Latakia Province, where the Russian jet went down, that rebels possibly wielding TOW antitank missiles and other weapons had shot down a Russian helicopter sent to the scene of the crash to look for survivors. There was no official confirmation from Russia, and state-run television news cited only foreign reports.

The Turkish military did not identify the nationality of the plane, but it said in a statement on its website that its pilots fired only after repeated warnings to the other warplane. Turkey released a map that it said showed that the plane, flying east, was shot down as it transited a narrow finger of Turkish land less than two miles wide that juts down into Syria.

“The aircraft entered Turkish airspace over the town of Yaylidag, in the southeastern Hatay Province,” the statement read. “The plane was warned 10 times in the space of five minutes before it was taken down.”

A Turkish official repeated that, saying, “In line with the military rules of engagement, the Turkish authorities repeatedly warned an unidentified aircraft that they were 15 kilometers or less away from the border.”

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing matters of national security, said the pilot ignored the warnings and flew into Turkish airspace. “The Turkish Air Forces responded by downing the aircraft,” the official said.

The incident occurred as Russia and the West were slowly edging toward some manner of understanding to unite forces to confront the Islamic State in the wake of the bloody terrorist attacks in Paris and the downing of a Russian charter flight over Egypt that together killed 354 people.

President François Hollande of France began a world tour this week to try to build consensus on the issue, with stops in Washington and Moscow in the coming days.

But the warplane incident is likely to further sour relations between two central parties to any solution, Moscow and Ankara, already bruised over previous tensions on the border and differences over the fate of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. The Kremlin sent its military to Syria in late September to shore up Mr. Assad and to fight rebels backed by Turkey.

The Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, canceled a trip to Turkey for meetings on Wednesday, more proof that “Russia-Turkey relations will drop below zero,” as Ivan Konovalov, director of the Center for Strategic Trends Studies, said on the state-run Rossiya 24 cable news channel.

Read more: NY Times


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