© Sputnik/ Dmitriy Vinogradov
09:27 31.01.2016(updated 10:18 31.01.2016) Get short URL
Following Ankara's latest (and unsubstantiated) claims that a Russian Su-34 bomber crossed into Turkey on Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Moscow would "have to bear the consequences" if similar incidents take place again, but his ability to respond is extremely limited.Ankara's hands are tied due to "the de facto no-fly zone" Russia has created in northern Syria, Turkish military expert Metin Gurcan told Business Insider. He was referring to the advanced S-400 air defense system, which Moscow deployed to the Hmeymim Air Base following the Su-24 downing in late 2015. "As a result, Turkey has lost its capacity to change the strategic situation both on the ground and in Syrian airspace as an independent actor."
On November 24, a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian bomber, which was on an anti-Daesh mission in Latakia. Ankara claimed that the plane had violated its airspace for 17 seconds and did not respond to warnings, but Russian military officials and the pilot confirmed that the plane did not enter Turkish airspace and did not receive any warnings.
© REUTERS/ Reuters TV/Haberturk
A combination picture taken from video shows a war plane crashing in flames in a mountainous area in northern Syria after it was shot down by Turkish fighter jets near the Turkish-Syrian border November 24, 2015
The Su-24 downing, which Russian President Vladimir Putin described as "a stab in the back," damaged relations between Russia and Turkey, prompting many to question Ankara's true intentions with regard to fighting Daesh. In addition, the incident "complicated an already-muddled situation in Syria, adding layers of unpredictability to the scene," Business Insider noted.
On Saturday, the Russian Ministry of Defense released a statement saying that the alleged Friday airspace violation did not take place. The agency referred to the Turkish claims as "propaganda unsupported by evidence" and provided a detailed explanation of why Ankara's allegations are unfounded.
Leonid Kalashnikov, deputy chair of State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, maintains that Erdogan is using the latest allegations as an attempt to talk to Putin. "Apparently, Erdogan has been unable to meet Putin, so he is using every opportunity," the lawmaker told RIA Novosti.
"I consider these allegations as a futile attempt to justify the treacherous Su-24 downing," Franz Klintsevich, deputy chair of the Defense Committee at the upper-house Federation Council in the Russian parliament, told the news agency.