Preventing Escalation

As details emerge about exactly what led Turkish F-16s to shoot down a Russian Su-24 near the Syrian border Tuesday morning, President Obama said it’s critical Turkey and Syria “are talking to each other to find out exactly what happened” and that the two countries work together to “discourage any kind of escalation.” Turkish officials maintain the aircraft crossed into its airspace, while Russian officials claim the jet never left Syrian territory. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “assessments” by “several Allies” are “consistent with what we have got from Turkey.” He echoed Obama’s call for continued communication, noting there already has been some contact between Moscow and Ankara, but said, “so far there has been no direct contact between NATO and Russia.” Obama said the incident “points to an ongoing problem” of Russian aircraft “operating very close” to the Turkish border, and noted that if Russia directed “its energies towards Daesh and ISIL, some of those conflicts, or potentials for mistakes or escalation, are less likely to occur.” (Stoltenberg transcript.) (Obama transcript.)