The New York Times reports: As Turkey and Russia promised on Wednesday not to go to war over the downing of a Russian fighter jet, Turkey’s still-nervous NATO allies and just about everyone else were left wondering why, when minor violations of airspace are relatively common and usually tolerated, Ankara decided this time to risk a serious confrontation with Moscow by taking military action.
The reply from the Turkish government so far has been consistent: Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Turkey had repeatedly called in Russia’s ambassador to complain about bombing raids near its border and previous airspace incursions by Russian aircraft. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday evening — and a Pentagon spokesman later confirmed — that Turkish forces had warned the Russian plane 10 times in five minutes to leave before a Turkish F-16 shot it down.
“I personally was expecting something like this, because in the past months there have been so many incidents like that,” Ismail Demir, Turkey’s undersecretary of national defense, said in an interview. “Our engagement rules were very clear, and any sovereign nation has a right to defend its airspace.” [Continue reading…]