Erdogan: Russia ‘Playing With Fire’ in Attacking Syrian Rebels

Russia Imposes Trade, Travel Sanctions Over Shootdown

Tensions between Russia and Turkey continue to grow precipitously after Tuesday’s shootdown of a Russian bomber over Syrian airspace, with Russia announcing economic sanctions on Turkey in response, and halting a visa-free travel deal for Turkish visitors.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said shooting down one of their planes “crossed the line,” and while they insisted there would be no military retaliation, they intend to curb tourism and trade with Turkey, and are considering slowing down some major energy projects.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his part, remains unapologetic about shooting down the Russian plane, insisting Russia was “playing with fire” in daring to attack the Syrian rebels in the first place, and accused Russia of being “unfair” in retaliating for it.

Russia is one of Turkey’s largest trading partners, and also a huge source of foreign tourist revenue for the country, and while Erdogan appears determined to not apologize for shooting down a Russian plane, and continues the bellicose rhetoric, he likely will ultimately have to do something to defuse tensions.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.