Security issues expert Vladimir Poghosyan comments to EADaily on the incident with the Russian warplane shot down by the Turkish Air Forces above the Syrian territory and consequences of the Turkey’s action for Russia and the situation in the world.
In your October 21 interview, you were warning that Russia’s geopolitical adversaries would do their utmost to make Russia suffer military casualties. What do think made Turkey feel free and how did they resort for such an action?
Our combat casualties started at the moment when our civil aviation plane was destroyed above Sinai, continued in Paris and in a terror attack in Mali. These are all our combat casualties, as Russia joined the fair war protecting values of the whole civilized world, while barbarians do not need it.
Our warplane did not violate Turkish air space. Even if it did, the Turks would comprehend that it posed no threat. The action was planned by Turkey’s masters. To remind, the State Department earlier practically allowed Turkey shooting down Russian warplanes. Accomplices of terrorists, as President Vladimir Putin called Turkey and its patrons (and he was right), needed to lift the spirit of ISIL terrorists. They started losing their positions and became weaker, and Turks and their patrons cannot allow it.
I warned this would happen, but many analysts at Russian federal TV-channels and radio stations were wasting time for senseless propaganda instead of giving real assessments and drafting probable scenarios. Judging by video footage, our warplane was flying without even shooting back by heat-seeking missiles or using defense equipment. As a rule, an interceptor plane comes for a certain distance, interacts with the penetrator plane, warns it and accompanies it till the moment the latter leaves air space of the country or it is forced to land…
It looks like the Turkish Air Forces were not planning to do this, but it was decided from the start to shoot down the plane, doesn’t it?
You are absolutely right. The action was pre-planned, they were waiting for a fitting occasion. Were our pilots to know that they violated Turkish air space and see an interceptor plane, they would at least make an attempt to leave the territory, and expecting they could be shot down they would have taken certain actions…
Evidently, they were waiting for our plane. An interceptor plane is usually told to take off when a supposed penetrator plane is about 15 km from the border. At least, they need five-six minutes to fly to the target. But they need time for the interceptor to take off… It looks like the Turkish planes were patrolling, they were waiting for a target. At the same time, they took into account certain Su 24 features: this plane can “see” everything in front of it, so they came from the back and stroke with a heat-seeking missile. Were our pilots warned about the attack, they would at least take an anti-missile maneuver and tried to escape. Moreover, our pilots were familiar with the landscape and the weather was fine. Even if the plane crossed the Turkish border, things are not done so. The attack was deceitful and unexpected, it was a stab in the back.
Why do you think did Turkey address NATO right after the attack?
They will start saying now that they were protecting they border, and foreign media will distribute this. This is nothing but information disguise. Simultaneously, Turkey is hiding behind NATO's support.
Are we supposed to take into account interests of regional players after this? Let me ask, whose interests should we take into account, Turkish ones? Its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is suffering political and personal economic losses from Russia’s actions in Syria. He is making his wealth at the expense of the ISIL activities. Everyone knows he controls oil sales from ISIL and delivery of wheat to ISIL terrorists and puts the money for it in his pocket. Wounded terrorists undergo medical treatment in Turkey, they have secret dwelling there, recruiting points, training camps. Recently, there was a meeting of several ISIL warlords with eleven Turkish instructors on guerrilla warfare. Moreover, Turks are coordinating their activities against Kurds with ISIL. And here is another piece of news: the Paris attack was coordinated from Turkey.
So, Turkey and ISIL are just the same, aren’t they?
It is true. There are more countries - pappeteers of Turkey, and it is no secret who they are. Now, the top priority is to know what stance France and Germany are taking. If France does not condemn Turkey, it isn't worth a dime. It would mean they betray victims of the terror attacks in Paris. The US position is evident and expectable, but Europe must make Turkey a pariah state. Don’t Germany and France know to whom ISIL is selling oil? Don’t they know that Turkey has close ties with ISIL? The time has come to stop playing with people’s lives and to deal with governments supporting terrorism.
What should Russia do? What steps should it take first?
Russia mustn’t forgive such evil deeds. It will take revenge for killings of our officers to everyone who supports terrorists. Russia will annihilate them no matter where they are. Russia’s position must be very tough and straight-out. Russian people, contrary to European nations, do comprehend that it is a war, and we are ready for many things already. It is not 1993 now, the army has changed, and we have changed too. We need to cease the relations with Turkey, ban tours from Russia to Turkish resorts, to stop civil flights to Turkey. And Turkey needs to understand that if their planes approach borders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization countries closer than 6 km, they will be annihilated.
What do you think will be the response in the Russian public?
We are all grieving, and we will become stronger. This will unite us and make stronger our belief that we are right in the Syrian issue!