Turkey has a right to defend itself and its airspace, President Obama said on Tuesday after Ankara’s F-16s shot down a Russian Su-24 which Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims ventured into Turkish airspace for a grand total of 17 seconds.
Similarly, Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey was simply acting to defend its security.
Of course you can take everything Erdogan says with a grain of salt because if we’re being honest, he’s an autocrat and largely thanks to his government, Turkey is a tyrannical frontier market masquerading as a largely developed democracy.
When it comes to NATO and the West you can always find a contradiction or two (or five) when it comes to foreign policy rhetoric which is why we weren’t at all surprised (although we were amused) with what we found when we decided to take a look back at what Erdogan said in 2012 after Assad’s air force shot down a Turkish F-4 phantom jet when it crossed into Syrian airspace.
Here’s a map showing the flight path of the F-4 and where it disappeared (via BBC):
And now, prepare yourself for some of the most epic hypocrisy ever to spew from the mouths of NATO and its allies. From BBC ca. 2012:
Syria insists the F-4 Phantom jet was shot down inside Syrian airspace. The plane crashed into the eastern Mediterranean and its two pilots are missing.
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.
Well, apparently it can, because that’s exactly what Turkey did on Tuesday – use a 17 second incursion as an excuse to shoot down a Russian warplane.
But it doesn’t stop there:
In a statement, NATO’s 28 members said the shooting down of the plane was “unacceptable” and they stood together with Turkey “in the spirit of strong solidarity”.
Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: “It is another example of the Syrian authorities’ disregard for international norms.”
It’s funny – NATO didn’t say Turkey had “disregarded international norms” on Tuesday.
Turkey has also accused its neighbour of firing on a search and rescue plane looking for the F-4 Phantom jet, although it was not brought down.
Oh, you mean kind of like the Turkish-supported and US-armed FSA First Coastal Division did yesterday when they used an American-made TOW to destroy a Russian search and rescue helicopter killing one Russian Marine in the process?