Could downed warplane contain Russian aggression?

01 December 2015

EFD Senior Policy Advisor, Dr. Demir Murat Seyrek and Amanda Paul of the European Policy Centre, write about the downing of the Russian warplane on 24 November by Turkey, as well its implications for Turkey-Russia relations and the already waning relations between Russia and the West as a whole.

The authors first provide an overview of the current political climate leading up to the incident, which has been increasingly strained due to Russia's provocations in the Baltics, in Ukraine to a greater extent and Russia's unwavering support of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The implications of this particular incident, however, go well-beyond Turkey-Russia relations the authors argue. In particular, this event is likely going to have a deeply negative impact on the likelihood of achieving Russian support for any proposed political solution to the crisis in Syria.

On the other hand, the article points out that this is also a promising opportunity for the West. Not only does Turkey's actions - and NATO's reciprocal rhetoric unconditionally supporting Turkey's actions - reaffirm Turkey's alliance with the West and NATO, but it also sends Russia a strict message: Russian infractions of NATO members' borders will not be tolerated.

The authors reiterate, however, that the move will assuredly hinder any opportunity for achieving a political solution to the Syria crisis. The article concludes that Turkey will now need to reassert itself as a legitimate player in the Syria peace process in light of recent Russian denunciation.

The article is in English and can be read here.