by Andrea Bales
On November 25th, 2015, during a Russian campaign against Isis, Turkey has struck down a Russian jet that they say was entering Turkish airspace. Russian President Vladimir Putin argues however that the plane was not in Turkish airspace and was instead shot down in defense of a Turkish-Isis oil trade route, Turkish President Erdogan denies any tie to Isis, further promising to set down as President if there is any proof to be found on the claim. Neither President agrees to meet to come to a compromise on this issue, which will inevitably further complicate the "strategic partnership" between the two nations that was set in place to fight against Isis.
While experts believe that this issue won't escalate into attacks between the two countries, there is more cause for concern. On November 28th, in response to the downed jet, Russia announced economic sanctions on Turkey. These penalties included (among other things) a ban on Russian citizens to travel to Turkey, restrictions on Turkish citizens working within Russian companies, as well as substantial import restrictions. These sanctions are predicted to affect Turkish GDP by nearly one percent in the upcoming year.
Furthermore, Russia has taken action in their defense. On November 30th, in our mutual fight against Isis, Russia began arming their Syria-bound jets with air-to-air missiles. Considering that ISIS is not equipped with jets, this defense action has NATO bristling. The US has moved fighter jets to a Turkish NATO air base in support of our ally.
President Obama has asked both Turkey and Russia to de-escalate these issues, reminding us "We all have a common enemy. That is ISIL." With escalation after escalation, our countries must find common ground.
*"IS": Islamic State
*"ISIL": The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
*"ISIS": The Islamic State of Iraq and A-Sham
Wahhabi/Salafi jihadist Islamic extremist militant group.
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