The circumstances behind the first-ever downing of a Russian military jet by a NATO member are still unclear. But there are several possible scenarios for the incident which is triggering a major diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Russia.

Kurdish PYD fighters in northern Syria

An informed Russian intelligence source who asked not to be identified told Asia Times that it’s too early to draw solid conclusions about the shoot-down of a Russian warplane by Turkish F-16 fighter jets near the Syrian border on Tuesday. However, the source outlined the following scenarios as possible contributing factors:

-Russian planes could be providing support for detachments of Kurds — a move that might have underscored fears in Ankara that Moscow is supporting Kurdish rebels in Turkey;

-Russian pilots may have attacked the villages of Syrian Turks situated along the border. Such attacks are said to have occurred in the last week — causing extreme irritation in Ankara;

-Over the past week the Russian Air Force was actively attacking oil/petroleum convoys delivering “illegal” oil products from ISIS to Turkey. The people involved are said to have made a fortune on this trade and given the purported level of corruption in the Turkish society including Turkish military, it was a serious blow upon certain “interests” in Turkey including the military;

In addition, the source speculates that the real motive for the jet downing might have nothing directly to do with Russia’s military intervention in Syria.

A meeting of the “highest importance” was scheduled  on Nov. 25 by a Russian-Turkish Intergovernmental Commission but is now on hold. The two sides were supposed to finally agree on a) gas prices for Russian gas for Turkish internal consumption due to be delivered via planned Turkish Stream pipeline built on the bottom the Black Sea, and b) sign preliminary documents on the construction of this pipeline.

“The Turkish Stream project has always had a lot of enemies in America, Europe and Turkey itself,” the source said. “It looks like the meeting in Istanbul got shot down along with the Russian Su-24. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has already announced that he will not go there. I think that the whole project was shot down — or at least drastically postponed — for the foreseen future.”

Meanwhile, IHS Country Risk said in an entirely separate analysis Tuesday that there’s increased likelihood of incidents such as the Russian jet shoot-down “due to the increasing direct involvement of sponsors of the ongoing proxy war in the conflict,” though “outright war” can be ruled out at this time.

IHS analysts Ege Seckin and Firas Abi Ali also said in their assessment that the jet downing’s immediate impact will likely be limited to a diplomatic crisis. “However, future such incidents between Russia and Turkey are highly likely, as neither side is willing or able to back down,” they said.

More plane downings and occasional exchanges of artillery fire between Syrian and Turkish troops are increasingly likely,  the analysts said. At the same time, Putin’s decision to refer the plane downing to the UN Security Council is said to signal his effort to contain the escalation for now.

“However, in the medium term, Russia and Turkey both have escalation options against one another. Russia can increase the price of Russian gas, while Turkey can provide support to insurgents within Russian Caucasian republics and in Crimea. Russia is also likely to retaliate indirectly by increasing support for the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat: PYD) and its Turkey-based counterpart, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan‎: PKK),” the analysts said.

(Copyright 2015 Asia Times Holdings Limited, a duly registered Hong Kong company. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now. 

Join the Conversation

44 Comments

  1. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before
    but after looking at a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me.

    Anyhow, I’m certainly happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking
    back regularly!

  2. Hi there, I do believe your website might be having internet browser compatibility issues.

    Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in Internet Explorer, it’s got some overlapping issues.

    I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!
    Apart from that, great website!

  3. Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that
    it’s really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels.
    I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. A lot
    of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  4. This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a
    reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job.
    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

  5. Hello, Neat post. There’s a problem along with your website in web explorer,
    would check this? IE still is the market chief and a big component of other people will pass over your great writing due to this problem.

  6. The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iPad and tested to
    see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad
    is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic
    but I had to share it with someone!

  7. I do not even know how I stopped up right here,
    however I assumed this put up used to be great.
    I do not recognize who you’re however definitely you are going to a well-known blogger if
    you are not already. Cheers! natalielise plenty of fish

  8. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
    topic to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for
    your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  9. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward
    for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  10. Hey, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.

    When I look at your website in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, fantastic blog!

  11. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting!
    I truly enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.I will be
    sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back down the road.
    I want to encourage you to continue your great posts, have a nice morning!

  12. Appreciating the hard work you put into your blog and
    detailed information you provide. It’s nice to come across a blog every once
    in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed information.
    Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  13. I absolutely love your blog and find most of your
    post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content in your case?
    I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write concerning here.

    Again, awesome site!

  14. Hi, I do believe your blog could be having internet browser compatibility problems.
    Whenever I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues.
    I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other
    than that, fantastic blog!

  15. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a
    comment is added I get several e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Cheers!

  16. We absolutely love your blog and find many
    of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to
    write content for yourself? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you
    write regarding here. Again, awesome weblog!

  17. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you have been using?

    I’m experiencing some small security issues with my latest site and I would like to find something more secure.
    Do you have any solutions?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *