Here are some pertinent background facts:
- The Turks have previously shot down one Syrian jet and possibly one helicopter entering their airspace uninvited.
- The Russian air force has made previous incursions into Turkey, with diplomatic complaints made to Russia.
- The Turkomen people, who are ethnic Turks are on both sides of the border here.
- Putin has been attacking and killing the Turkomen rebels. To Russia the Turkomen are “bad” rebels, to the West the Turkomen are “good rebels”.
- Turkey has complained previously to Russia about their attacking Turkomen in Syria.
- The SU-24 overflew Turkey twice and was warned 10 times over the radio.
- Whilst the SU-24 was hit over Turkey it crashed in Syria. A plane at that altitude and speed can continue more than 20 miles after being shot down. Just a matter of inertia.
- The two Russian crew landed by parachute amongst the very rebels who they had been bombing and killing. So if the ejection didn’t kill them then they would be killed by the rebels.
- Putin is a international bully who tries to intimidate everyone. Incursions into Syrian airspace were probably deliberate. Putin has been goading the West with very many military incursions into our airspace. Which we did nothing about.
- Erdogan is not the sort of person to be bullied.
- Russian armed forces are in a dismal state, with no investment since the fall of the Soviet Union.
- Turkish armed forces are excellent with the latest equipment. They train constantly with NATO.
- When Russia shot down the MH-17 airliner they fabricated lots of “evidence” and told many lies. Already with this SU-24 their stories are all over the place. Only a fool believes a word they say.
- The Turks buy about 60% of their gas supplies from Russia but can switch suppliers to Iran and Azerbaijan through existing pipelines. So Erdogan has the upper hand here.
- The Bosphorus is the Russian navy’s route to the Mediterranean and the route for most of their military supplies to Syria. It is controlled by Turkey.
- Putin has his hands full. Truck strikes across Russia. Economy contracting rapidly due to sanctions and low oil price. Electricity cut off from Crimea. Ongoing fighting in Ukraine. Aftermath of Gaza passenger aircraft disaster. Ongoing fighting in Syria. And now Turkey.
Further analysis: Putin falls into the Syria trap (click highlighted text to open link).