- - Sunday, January 31, 2016

Turkey alleged Russia again violated its airspace near the Syrian border on Friday, accusing an SU-34 Fullback fighter bomber of the incursion while on a mission over northern Syria. The SU-34 is one of Russia’s most advanced fighter bombers and can carry air to air missiles for an air superiority role. After Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 bomber last year, Russia moved SU-34’s into theater in order to provide air cover for its ground attack missions.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Saturday that Russia would “have to face consequences if it keeps up such violations. Such irresponsible steps benefits neither the Russian Federation nor Russia-NATO relations, or regional and global peace,” he told reporters. He said he had asked repeatedly for a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, without success, reported the BBC.

“I’ve asked our Foreign Ministry undersecretary that I want to meet with Mr. Putin but our embassy there has informed us here that there’s been no response from [Russia] since then,” Mr. Erdogan said. Turkey also summoned the Russian ambassador in Ankara to “protest the incursion in the strongest terms.”

NATO urged Russia “to act responsibility and to fully respect NATO airspace” and “take all necessary measures to ensure that such violations do not happen again.”

Turkey stated it gave the Russian aircraft multiple warnings in English and Turkish from its ground radar units in the area but the warnings were ignored.

If the accusation is true, the incident could portend Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desire to increase tensions with Turkey and therefore the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as well. With the price of crude oil remaining in the low $30s, a military provocation may be one method Russia has decided to try in order to pressure crude oil prices higher. Interestingly enough, the incident came a day after Russia announced Saudi Arabia had requested a meeting to discuss a 5% cut in oil production which saw crude oil prices increase approximately 5 percent. Saudi Arabia quickly denied the Russian statement. We may be witnessing a multifaceted effort by Russia to increase oil revenues through geopolitical tension and propaganda. Russia could be also be daring Turkey to take another shot at Russian aircraft now that it has deployed advanced anti-aircraft systems, and cutting edge fighter jets in the region.

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