Turkey and Russia continue to step up the rhetoric today after Turkish warplanes destroyed a Russian bomber over northern Syria yesterday morning, with Turkish officials continuing to insist they had every right to destroy the plane.
In comments today, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted the plane was destroyed defending “the rights of our brothers in Syria,” and insisted that Turkish policy toward planes along the Syria-Turkish border would not change, despite Russian anger.
Oddly, Erdogan conceded that a “short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack,” but followed this up by reiterating that they are going to view planes in northern Syria “as a military threat and treated as a military target.”
Russian officials say they believe the attack, which came after weeks of Turkish threats to attack a Russian plane, was not a coincidental incident, but rather a “planned provocation,” warning the attack further NATO-Russia relations.
Russian officials have bulked up air defenses in northern Syria since the attack, and are intending to give future bombers an escort of fighters to dissuade Turkey from getting into any more battles with them in the skies over Syria.