Is This the Sarajevo Moment of the Next World War?

A Russian fighter jet was shot down today by Turkey. The downed plane was a Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer. I don’t know much about military aircraft, but there’s more info on the Su-24 here, and (with videos) here.

Both pilots reportedly ejected and parachuted from the damaged aircraft. The Washington Post reports that at least one of the pilots was captured by local Turkmen tribesmen who live in that part of Syria. However, The Aviationist reports that both pilots are dead.

The Turks claim the jet violated Turkish airspace, and overflew Turkish territory. The Russians insist their fighter remained over Syrian territory during the entire sortie. However, if the radar track below is accurate, the Su-24 does seem to have flown over an appendix of Turkish territory that pokes out into Syria near the Mediterranean.

Below are excerpts from the report in The Washington Post:

Turkey Downs Russian Military Aircraft Near Syria’s Border

BEIRUT — Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian jet Tuesday after NATO-member Turkey says the plane violated its airspace on the border with Syria, a major escalation in the Syrian conflict that could further strain relations between Russia and the West.

Russian officials confirmed that a Russian Su-24 fighter had been shot down, but insisted it had not violated Turkish airspace.

“A stab in the back,” complained Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Turkey’s military, however, said that the Russian jet was warned multiple times before it was shot down by two F-16 fighter jets in the border zone in western Syria in mountains not far from the Mediterranean coast.

The downing brings renewed attention to a scenario feared for months by the Pentagon and its partners: a potential conflict arising from overlapping air missions over Syria — with Russia backing the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes the Islamic State.

NATO and Russia have been at odds over a series of flash points since the Cold War — including the NATO-led bombings in Bosnia in the 1990s and NATO support for Ukraine last year against pro-Moscow separatists — but the Syrian conflict has now put the two powers in possibly dangerous proximity.

It also could complicate a diplomatic push to bring greater international coordination to the fight against the Islamic State.


“Today’s tragic cases will have significant consequences for the relations between Russia and Turkey,” Putin told reporters after talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, whose nation is part of the U.S.-led coalition.

Putin claimed Turkey “immediately turned to its partners from NATO to discuss this incident as though it was us who downed the Turkish jet and not the other way around.”

“Do they want to put NATO at ISIS’s service?” he said, using one of the acronyms for the Islamic State.

In further signs of the increasing fallout, NATO called an emergency meeting for later Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said American forces were not involved in the plane incident, although commanders “closely monitor activity in the region.” In early November, the United States deployed additional fighter aircraft to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base to help the country protect its airspace.

Putin’s spokesman called the warplane’s downing a “very serious incident,” but the Kremlin has not outlined any specific actions in response. Some Russian lawmakers, however, have called for retaliation against Turkey by evacuating Russian tourists from popular vacation destinations.

The relationship between Turkey and Russia has soured over the Russian intervention. Turkey, which backs rebels seeking Assad’s ouster, has at least twice warned Russia about incursions into Turkish airspace.

Video footage of the incident showed a warplane on fire before crashing on a hill and two crew members apparently parachuting. But a video purported posted by Syrian rebels appeared to show the body of Russian pilot.

Turkey’s Dogan news agency said two Russian helicopters, flying low over the Turkmen Bayirbucak region, searched for the two pilots.

Friction between Ankara and Moscow has also intensified over alleged Russian airstrikes on Turkmen villages in areas of northwestern Syria, near where Tuesday’s downing occurred.

CNN Turk reported that at least one of the pilots who apparently parachuted from the downed aircraft had been captured by the area’s Turkmen inhabitants, who are Syrians of Turkish origin.

Could this be the triggering incident that sets off the global military conflict that everyone seems to be expecting?

At this point, it’s hard to say. There are elements within the U.S. defense establishment who are itching for a fight with Russia. But President Obama seems disinclined to take any decisive military initiative for any reason — he only takes such action reluctantly, when pushed (or when others take the action for him, as in the killing of Osama bin Laden). And Russia is unlikely to seek a head-to-head confrontation with the United States.

It all depends on whether Turkey invokes the clause of the NATO treaty that requires member states to go to war to defend an ally when attacked. The Turks are the troublemakers in this case, and if they’re eager for a casus belli, this may be just what they’re looking for.

In the long run, Turkey will not tolerate the existence of the Islamic State, which is a rival Caliphate and a usurper set up in opposition to the new Sultan, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom Islam-minded Turks view as the rightful Caliph. However, for the moment ISIS is useful to Turkey’s regional interests, and Russian has lately been interfering with that usefulness.

What happens if Turkey insists that it has been attacked, and formally requests the military assistance of its NATO allies?

In June of 1914, in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a Bosnian Serb named Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A cascading series of events followed, with Austria and Germany making demands and ultimatums to Serbia. Regional alliances kicked in, and over the next few weeks all the dominoes fell, one by one. By August the great powers of Europe were lined up against each other preparing for war. Each participant was certain that the war would be over quickly, and that the troops would be home by Christmas.

We all know how that turned out.

Not everyone was so sanguine, however. On August 3, 1914 the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.” More than a hundred years have passed, and some of us are of the opinion that those lamps have yet to be rekindled.

Is this our Sarajevo moment?

It’s too early to tell, but the dominoes are definitely lined up, and wobbling.

42 thoughts on “Is This the Sarajevo Moment of the Next World War?

  1. This just shows that the Turks are on the ISIS side.

    (a) They know perfectly well why the Russians are there. If one accidentally strayed into Turkish territory, this should have been handled by diplomatic means.

    (b) If they shot the plane down by accident, they could have called the Russians to apologise. I’m sure that if they were sincere, the Russians would have been willing to agree to a face-saving compromise position.

    That means that this is deliberate. My guess is that the Turks are trying to start a war with the Russians, because the Russians are hitting ISIS where it actually hurts, unlike what the West has done so far.

    My proposed solution? Kick Turkey out of NATO. Let them get what they have coming from “Vlad the Impaler”.

    • I clearly have been out of touch more than I thought the past several (many?) years.

      I had NO IDEA Turkey was a member of NATO. I knew Turkey had been denied membership in the EU, but a member of NATO??? No idea. I thought Turkey was, as always, its own entity, playing everyone against everyone else. Never a “neutral” party.

      Turkey was not attacked. They are the attacker. Liars and lower than worms’ bellies, they are. (“The Armenians died as war casualties / from bad weather / from tribal fighting / etc.”–never, no never, from Turkish genocide.)

      What NATO member wants to support Turkey against Russia and in favor of ISIS? Erdogan must be completely out of his ever-lovin’ mind.

      • NATO included such former fascist dictatorships as Spain and Greece, presumably on the grounds that in the fight against communism, the ends justified the means (attrib. Machiavelli, but he may have been ironic). Spain and Greece are quite democratic now; Turkey, alas…

          • And don’t forget the population of turkey is Muslim. Also genocidal morons. We have almost fifty millions of these genocidal morons all over the west. (With millions more fully armed and legged pouring in.) We had better start broadcasting twenty four seven about the Muslim plan for unbelievers while we still have buildings to broadcast from. The average peace loving Jew and Christian hating genocidal moron Muslim is getting his daily shots at the local mosque house of horrors.

      • Turkey was more secular in terms of government attitude before the current scumbag got voted in, he has been busy turning it back into an Islamic hell hole, removing the secular generals and so on.

        Having them in NATO used to make sense, but it does not any more, and by the way the Turks have the second strongest military in NATO after the USA.

        This is deliberate, they wanted to scupper Frances push for a grand alliance against ISIS…

        • Turks have been buying oil from ISIS and sex slaves… YOUNG Christian women and GIRLS from Orthodox and Assyrian Catholic villages captured by ISIS in Northern Syria.

          The Syrian Army and the Russians recently re-captured those villages. It has been reported by the Syrian Army that MASS graves of Christian men and boys of those villages have been found.

          Turkey is making the big bucks off ISIS. THEY do not want all that MONEY and “riches” to end.

          The Turkmen, so called militia work for ISIS and are the ones carrying SEX slaves to TURKEY! $$$$$$$$ and MORE $$$$$$$$$$$$.

          • Edrogan wants to be at the head of the new Caliphate, it is as simple as that. But also look at it in context of causing a war between NATO and Russia, or perhaps showing the weakness of the West at not backing Turkey in a confrontation.

            One of the points ISIS is trying to sell to the Muslims in Europe is that Europe is weak and ripe to be taken, this event at best for them could be a war between NATO and Russia and at worst a confirmation that Europe no longer is able to protect itself.

            I think Putin will react, but not quite how Turkey expects, or at least I hope so.

        • I agree. They used to be better / more secular, and during the cold war, at least they were better than the Russkies.

          Right now, I think that we have more in common with the aforementioned Russkies than with the Turks.

          I say cut ’em loose, and leave ’em loose at least until they no longer have an Islamist government.

          A Putin-administered spanking is what they really need!

          • I would have composed a reply of my own, but yours succinctly and fairly encapsulates the key points.

            Turkey’s continued membership of NATO is an historical anomaly dating from the Cold War and driven by pure realpolitik at that time. Around 1992 NATO should have held a meeting and resolved: Bye, bye Turkey. With Erdogan at the helm for the past decade or so, such a meeting and resolution has become imperative.

            Putin and Russia are not going to let Turkey get away with this. And the Turks deserve whatever Putin dishes out to them.

      • “What NATO member wants to support Turkey against Russia and in favor of ISIS?”

        The US, under the “leadership” of the jihadi-in-chief?
        Or perhaps France?

        All Turkey has to do is invoke article V, and O can claim he must abide by the treaty…

    • The Russian a/c, travelling at 10 miles a minute or more, would have been in Turkish airspace for less than 2 minutes, according to the map.

      The F16s could not have intercepted from a ground launch in this time, they must have been ‘waiting’ in ambush……

      10 warnings using international call protocols would take several minutes; hundreds of miles as the jet flies.

      We used to do fighter interceptions (from ship born radar) in the days of F4 Phantoms, getting the ‘turn’ right was a black art, too soon, and one ‘killed’ the pilot by putting him in front of the target.

      To also ensure that the intercept happened over sovereign territory, at these speeds, would also have been very difficult.

      This is an extreme provocation indeed.

      Something smelly in Syria and Turkey….

      • how about 20 sec or 17 sec incursion into the Turkish blip, as as stated by them in a UN letter?

        Definite case of not just a provocation, but overstepping the mark?

      • Very interesting, I was wondering how the Turkish aircraft were at the right place at the right time to engage the Sukhois. Since both countries are governed by authoritarian regimes, the only fact we can be sure of is that the Turks shot down a Russian aircraft. Perhaps NATO is attempting to put pressure on the Russians.

        More moves in the Great Game.

        • On this particular one, I’m fully with the Russians.

          I just wish that the Russians weren’t playing the same game with Iran as Turkey is with ISIS. Come to think of it, Obama is playing that game too. On that one, I’m with the Israelis.

    • I would have composed a reply of my own, but yours succinctly and fairly encapsulates the key points.

      Turkey’s continued membership of NATO is an historical anomaly dating from the Cold War and driven by pure realpolitik at that time. Around 1992 NATO should have held a meeting and resolved: Bye, bye Turkey. With Erdogan at the helm for the past decade or so, such a meeting and resolution has become imperative.

      Putin and Russia are not going to let Turkey get away with this. And the Turks deserve whatever Putin dishes out to them.

  2. Letter from UN ambassador, Turkey about the whole incident.

    NATO’s Turkey’s selective sovereignty: Turkey’s army illegally entered Syria in Feb and Oct of this year. Turkish has illegally entered Syria countless of times.

    Recently, 2 Turkish military helicopters went into Armenian airspace, without the Armenians reacting in an aggressive manner.

    Back in June 2012, the Turkish president Abdullah Gül said that brief incursions into neighboring airspace by high-speed jets are routine occurrences. A Turkish jet was shot down in Syria.

    Mr Erdogan spoke of Turkey’s “rage” at the decision to shoot down the F-4 Phantom on 22 June and described Syria as a “clear and present threat”.

    “A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack,” he said.

    Total hypocrite and double standards all round from NATO.

  3. Thank you for the report. I saw a note in the facebook news sidebar and no further information.

    (This is a good place to come for current news.)

  4. Erdogan was awarded the Saudi, seen from that side, equivalent to the “Nobel Peace Prize” in 2010

    “Saudi award to Turkish prime minister signals deepening strategic ties
    A Saudi award to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his ‘service to Islam’ underscores Saudi backing for Turkey’s bid to take a more activist role as a Middle East power broker.”
    CSmonitor 2010

    On the other hand, Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 – for what? The same type of activist service for islam?

  5. Turkish hypocrisy -In the first month of 2014 alone, Turkish aircraft violated Greek airspace at-least 1000 times.

    A formation of Turkish fighter jets violated Greek airspace a total of 20 times on Wednesday before being chased off by Greek aircraft, Kathimerini English reports.

    A total of six Turkish fighter jets flying in formation carried out repeated violations of Greek airspace, according to the newspaper, which is one of the most respected in Greece. The reported violations took place in Greek airspace over the north, central, and southern Aegean Sea

  6. Russia is far too weak even to confront Turkey in a regional escalation, not to mention a broader conflict like World War. My guess is that comrade Putin got a bit carried away after he has managed to grab Crimea and eastern Ukraine relatively easy. So he rashly decided to continue his adventures in Syria where, unfortunately for him , Russian presence is weak and there are plenty of regional powers wary of Russian incursions (obviously Turkey, but don’t forget Saudi Arabia too). They will soon make things very difficult for the Russian military, probably with silent agreement from the White House. In the end, Putin will have to back down and seek glory closer to home.

    • There is added complexity here. As I pointed out in the post, in the long run Turkey will not tolerate the existence of the Islamic State as a rival (Sunni) Caliphate. And ISIS is in many ways a Saudi client, although it is even moreso that of Qatar.

      There is no great affection between the Turks and the House of Saud. The princes of the Arabian peninsula were unwilling vassals of the Ottoman Empire not so long ago. They have not forgotten.

      • True, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are rivals, they fight each other over Syria and certainly they will never be allies. But they both hate Russians more than they hate each other. If Putin decides to play hard, he will force them into some kind of truce and then they will focus their efforts (independently) against Russia. Ultimately, I don’t see how Putin can win this. And when he backs down, hostilities between Turkey and Saudi Arabia will continue as usual.

        • I don’t think Putin has any goal beyond keeping his client Assad in power. He’s no fool; he knows he can’t take on the United States and Turkey, if they decide to get serious.

          It’s a delicate game. I assume he’s banking on Obama’s proven reluctance ever to take any significant military action, and is planning to finish the job by January 21, 2017, when the geopolitical climate may change.

      • I also had a reasonably high opinion of Putin’s political abilities… before he got involved in Syria two months ago. I agree, he probably just wanted to help Assad a bit, a “limited action”, but it looks like things are already escalating beyond his control now. Putin should have kept clear of the border and at least tried to avoid open conflict with Turkey, but it seems like he has decided on a harder line and even now he continues to threaten them. That’s a blind alley, both for him and for Assad. Hopefully, those threats are just a media show for his supporters in Russia and worldwide, but still a very dangerous policy.

  7. Turkey the villain, the rogue state that many western lives ( allies or Axis) were shed by it and for it. It is not a member of NATO but its master. Any new nato commander accepted by all member states means nothing until he goes to High Porte and kneel before the sultan. Turkish sultan do that every time just to show the world who is in charge.

    Britain and America are proud that Turkish army is the second in nato. Naive. Until when are you going to stay thus naive. Turkish army is strong and is supplied by Germany, Britain, USA and France because they think it is an ally. But Turks exploit such useful idiots to strengthen and prepare their army to invade them.

    Don’t expect the scorpion to let the frog without stinging.

    Things are still under control because no country has co-opted ISIS. No muslim country – at least for now- dare adopt ISIS. But conditions in Europe will change quickly in the near future. Some western country either will be run over and overtaken by muslims ( European ISIS, or one will find itself forced to adopt ISIS), then ISIS will have force at state level.

    You say that possibility is far-fetched! Think again. The west has no direction, values, resistance, will to live, morals, . . . it roll with the muslim punches today. What prevents them from sitting on the muslim lap tomorrow.

    • Of course. It will take a revolution to save Eurotting from the savage lust for rape and plunder being set up by the materialist no integrity west end. What citizen of this EU smelly mess is willing to look up from his iPad and revalue?

  8. Atatuerk is turning in his grave. Erdogan is determined to destroy secular Turkey and start a war!

  9. Ataturk, from what I have read, worked very hard to create a secular and somewhat western Turkey. He must be spinning in his grave.

    • If Ataturk’s nominated successors had managed to hold onto power, Turkey would be a very different and much better place today.

      The whole of Turkish history since Ataturk has been the gradual undoing of his huge and far reaching secular reforms to try to make Turkey a western country. That is, a case of Islam fighting back against modernity. Ataturk had one of his adopted daughters learn to fly modern military aircraft and she then became the first female air force officer/pilot instructor in the world. This was in the 30’s as I recall.

      It is a huge tragedy for the Turkish people that the Islamists have prevailed over the secularists through the past 70 years or so.

  10. From the West’s point of view I personally cringe every time Cameron opens his mouth. He has really excelled himself offering 12 out of date jet fighters to aid Turkey should Russia retaliate! As for Obama, undoubtedly the worst president in USA history, someone in the American Press Corp should just ask him “Yes or No – Are you a Muslim?” Putin has demonstrated that Europe and the USA have had a phony “war” up to now against ISIS and I do not believe for one second that Turkey would down a Russian fighter without the prior consent of NATO.

  11. Turkey should have been kicked out of NATO in the 1970s when it invaded and occupied northern Cyprus and (true to form) brutally”ethnically cleansed” it of Christian Greek Cypriots. The illegal occupation continues – with the obvious approval of NATO and the UN. Contrast that with the EU and USA condemning and imposing sanctions on Russia for taking back the Crimea and the never-ending condemnation of Israel by the UN etc for occupying Palestinian territory.

  12. So, in case of a third world war NATO will fight Russia that, for the time being, appears to be the only country seriously fighting ISIS? To put it differently, NATO will fight to save ISIS?

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