Since the 24th of November, the world has followed Russo-Turkish tensions with a mixture of interest and fear. But who should be blamed for the tensions? The following article summarizes the most important events in Russo-Turkish relations from the 30th of September to the 24th of November. I believe that its necessary to report this timeline, to contrast the general belief that NATO and Turkey acted in an unpredictable way, with the explicit goal of provoking Russia.
This timeline is available on the website of the Institute for the study of War: http://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russo-turkish-tensions-start-russian-air-campaig.
30th Sept: RUSSIAN AIR CAMPAIGN IN SYRIA BEGINS. Russian aircraft based at Syria’s Latakia airfield hit targets in rebel-held towns in Homs and Hama Provinces. Targets included groups supported by the US.
2nd Oct. TURKEY ACCUSES RUSSIA OF TARGETING MODERATE OPPOSITION. Prime Minister Davutoglu says Russia is hitting the Free Syrian Army to ‘destroy the moderate opposition’ and bolster the Assad regime.
3rd Oct.RUSSIAN JETS VIOLATE TURKISH AIRSPACE TWICE. Russian fighter crosses into Turkish airspace, and MiG-29 aircraft (either Russian or Syrian) locked fire-control radars on Turkish F-16s.
5th Oct. NATO WARNS RUSSIA ABOUT VIOLATING TURKISH AIRSPACE. NATO holds emergency meeting about Russian violations of Turkish airspace. Turkey warns Russia that it might shoot down Russian aircraft in future.
6th Oct. RUSSIAN WARPLANES HARASS US AND TURKISH AIRCRAFT OVER SYRIA. Anti-aircraft missile systems in Syria locked fire-control radars on eight Turkish F-16s. US aircraft forced to re-route to avoid Russian planes in Syria.
10th, 11th of Oct. SYRIAN AIR DEFENSE HARASSES TURKISH AIRCRAFT. Syrian air defenses locked fire-control radars on seven Turkish F-16s on two separate occasions.
12th oct. RUSSIA ANNOUNCES ESCORTS FOR ITS BOMBERS IN SYRIA. Russia announces that advanced Su-30 air superiority fighters will accompany its attack aircraft, presumably to defend against coalition airplanes.
15th Oct. TURKISH AND RUSSIAN OFFICIALS DISCUSS AERIAL TENSIONS. Turkish official says Russian aircraft approached Turkish planes at dangerous distances 13 times since September 30 and Russia has provided no “adequate” explanation.
16th October 2015. TURKEY SHOOTS DOWN RUSSIAN DRONE OVER TURKEY. A Turkish jet downed a Russian drone that crossed from Syria into Turkey, according to an unnamed U.S. defense official. Meanwhile, Russia’s Ministry of Defense announced that all Russian planes had returned to Latakia Air Base after “completing combat operations” but said that Russian drones were still conducting surveillance operations. RUSSIA SAYS IT WILL STOP ESCORTING ITS ATTACK AIRCRAFT. Russia says its attack aircraft will fly solo again
20th Nov. TURKEY SUMMONS RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR OVER BOMBING OF SYRIAN TURKMEN VILLAGES. Turkish Foreign Minister warned that Russian attacks on Syrian Turkmen villages “could lead to serious consequences.
22nd Nov. TURKEY BLOCKS SHIPMENT OF RUSSIAN HELICOPTERS TO IRAQ. Turkey refuses to allow Russia to send Mi-28 helicopters to Iraq over its airspace. They were sent over Iranian airspace instead
24th Nov.TURKISH AIRCRAFT SHOOT DOWN RUSSIAN ATTACK PLANE. Two Turkish F-16 planes shot down a Russian SU-24 jet on November 24 that Turkey claimed was in Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings. Two Russian pilots ejected from the plane, which reportedly crashed in the Turkmen village of Yamadi in Syria near the Turkish border.