Turkish-Russian air clash rings out like a warning

On November 24, 2015, the world held its breath when two Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian Su-24. Since then, Turkey has repeated that the Russian jet was violating its airspace whereas Russia has affirmed it was flying within Syria’s airspace. If most of the observers consider that the Russian claim seems the most credible, this was the first time ever that a NATO member country committed such an act against the Russian Federation.

The interception of Russian planes near or in the airspace of Western Europe’s countries is common. These are invited if not escorted till they exit the concerned airspace.  If neither politics nor finance panicked, this incident illustrated the rise in tensions in the Middle East.

The Russian accusation according to which Turkey is ISIS’s accomplice and the growing suspicion on behalf of Turkey’s western partners are symptomatic of an increasingly difficult context. The next incident of that kind could trigger an escalation able to question the whole Euro-Atlantic architecture. History is sprinkled with incidents, seemingly trivial, but sometimes initiating events of real upheavals.