U.S. President Barack Obama has said that Turkey has a fundamental right to “defend its own airspace”, saying that the U.S. fully supports Turkey in it’s “defence” against Russia just hours after Turkey shot down a Russian plane with a missile strike.
Meanwhile the Pentagon have confirmed that the U.S. military view Russia’s presence in Turkey’s airspace as an “attack” or an incursion, and say that Turkey’s repeated warning to Russian SU-24 pilots to back off followed by their shooting down of the plane was completely justified.
Army Col. Steve Warren said that the U.S. military is currently investigating the incident to establish a clearer picture of what happened, but explained these types of incidents “are not as clean as they are in the movies.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Turkey of terrorism, saying they had “stepped over the boundary in the conventional war against terrorism”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent years has deployed his fighters and bombers close to the air space of NATO countries, such as Turkey and the U.S., as a way to try to rattle the allies.
This is the first time he has paid a price in having one of his jets shot down and perhaps the pilots killed.
Mr. Putin is backing Syrian President Bashar Assad, which is opposed by the Turkish government. Ankara is helping rebels opposed to the regime.
The U.S. sent F-15C air superiority jets to Turkey to help it patrol and defend its air space. Col. Warren said no F-15 was in the vicinity.
This “purely took place between the Russians and the Turks,” he said.
Col. Warren has made no secret of the U.S.’s displeasure with Russian bombing campaign in Syria. They assert Mr. Putin is mostly bombing moderate rebel groups opposed to Mr. Assad and devoting little time to the Islamic State terror army.