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Syrian and Turkish flags.

The British Foreign Office warned Monday that the downing of a Russian warplane by the Turkish Air Force was a “very serious incident,” one that bears further investigation.

“We are seeking further details urgently,” the Foreign Office said Tuesday in a statement.

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“Clearly this is a very serious incident but it would be unwise to comment further until we have more certainty on the facts,” the statement continued.

There is clearly a rising concern over increased tensions between Russia and the West as both confront the need to battle the spreading threat of global jihad.

European Union president Donald Tusk called for calm, noting that Turkey, a candidate for membership in the EU, is due to host a summit with the international body in Brussels on Sunday. “In this dangerous moment after downing of Russian let, all should remain cool headed and calm,” Tusk tweeted on the Twitter social networking site.

But Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov abruptly canceled his planned visit to Ankara for meetings with Turkish officials on Wednesday, and Moscow has posted a travel alert against the country.

According to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the Russian warplane violated Turkish airspace. “Everyone must know that it is our international right and national duty to take any measure against whoever violates our air or land borders,” Davutoglu said in Ankara, according to AFP.

Russia insists –and said it could prove — the Sukhoi-24 jet had not left Syria air space, although an image of radar tracking of the flight path of the SU-24 seems to indicate otherwise.

“This goes beyond the normal struggle against terrorism,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a statement before a meeting in Sochi, Russia with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. “This was a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists.

“Our pilots and our plane did not in any way threaten Turkey. It is quite clear. They were carrying out an operation against Da’esh (ISIS) in the mountains of northern Latakia, where [terrorists] who originate from Russian territory are concentrated. So they were carrying out the key task of preventive attacks against those who could return to Russia at any time.”

Putin is also infuriated by the fact that the two pilots ejected before the jet crashed in Latakia province, but one died because Turkmen rebels in Syria killed him. The rebels admitted as much to reporters, according to Reuters.

NATO is set to convene an emergency meeting of ambassadors in Brussels at 4 pm GMT; the military alliance to which Turkey belongs said it was “closely” following developments in the situation, and remains in contact with the parties.

This is the first time Russia has lost a warplane since launching air strikes in Syria in defense of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

9 COMMENTS

  1. In fact, when ISIS had to flee some towns they left behind armaments, shells and ammunition clearly marked as Turkish. They support ISIS because they want to kill off the Kurds so, while ironically in NATO,which persists in allowing them to stay, once Turkey became a more Islamist state under Erdogan, Turkey is actually supporting ISIS and fighting Assad. Now maybe NATO countries will realize how ridiculous it is to have such a country who knows all the top secrets of NATO supporting NATO's enemies and causing a huge crisis with Russia. Tow Turkish jets could have easily forced the Russian jet to turn if it indeed was in Turkish air space instead of shooting it down when Turkey knew Russia was not there to attack Turkey.

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