Turkey shoots down Russian fighter jet
After Turkish aircraft shot down a Russian fighter jet over the country's border region with Syria President Vladimir Putin has threatened Turkey, a Nato member, with serious consequences. Some commentators fear that the war against the IS may spiral out of control following the incident on Tuesday. Others believe Russia will exercise restraint so as not to jeopardise its return to the international community.
Russia pushed Turkey too far
Russia has repeatedly violated Turkey's airspace in recent weeks despite being warned not to, so the latter shooting down a Russian fighter jet was an understandable reaction, the pro-government daily Star comments: "If you, brother, bomb the Free Syrian Army on the pretext of beating the most ruthless terrorist group in the world, thus keeping Assad alive, if you wink at Iran, which has sent its soldiers to war to support the dictator with bloody hands, if you pay no heed to Turkish sensitivities and bombard Turkmen, and on top of that try to violate our airspace dozens of times, and this time you went too far, if you test the patience of a country too much, then at some point it will lose its patience and shoot down your aircraft all over the world."
Russia finally put in its place
It's a good thing it was Turkey and not another country that has stopped Russia from flexing its military muscles, writes the conservative daily Lidové noviny: "Russia has gone a little too far with its provocations. Similar incidents have been occurring almost on a daily basis: submarines in the waters on the UK's borders, fighter jets flying right next to Alaska, planes and ships on the borders of the Baltic states and Norway. In this respect it's good that someone is taking action against the invader - and that that someone wasn't a European. It would be far worse had there been confrontation between military forces in the Baltic, on the direct border between Nato and Russia. For the strategic interests of the Atlantic alliance it is also better that Ankara is on our side instead of allying with Moscow against the West."
Global perspectives: Moscow's careless dealings with Ankara
Putin has underestimated Turkey as a geopolitical player in the Syrian war, the Moscow-based government-critical daily Novaya Gazeta writes: "Now Russia has another potential adversary on its border, which will mean more economic losses and make it even harder for Russian military operations in Syria to be successful. ... Russia failed to take Turkey's interests into account when planning its military strategy in the region, and is relying on Ankara's traditional competitors and adversaries: the Assad regime in Syria, the Kurds and Iran. Russian experts viewed Turkey as a loyal ally of the US, unwilling to act on its own. By contrast, Erdoğan and his advisers believe that they play a key role as a military and political power in the region."
Putin will stick with anti-terror coalition
Russian President Vladimir Putin will not risk breaking with the West despite Nato member Turkey's shooting down of a Russian fighter jet, the centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger is convinced: "Last week Putin adopted a softer tone than usual. Even his reaction to the attack on the Russian passenger plane over the Sinai Peninsula in which 224 people died was moderate, all things considered. The reason is that Putin sees a unique opportunity to be part of the anti-terror coalition and return to the global community. With this goal in mind he is even willing to restrain his anger at Turkey. Putin supports this coalition not only because of Syria, and not only because of the Ukraine conflict. His goal isn't a partnership with the West, but a new world order in which Russia and the US once more play a leading role. ... It may seem absurd to Europeans, but Vladimir Putin is firmly convinced that only the old bipolar world order can restore stability."
International alliance on shaky ground
Turkey's shooting down of the Russian fighter jet won't make it any easier for French President François Hollande to form an international alliance against the IS, the conservative daily Le Figaro concludes: "Both Turkey and Russia are indispensable to him, but it's hard to imagine worse allies: they are irreconcilable on the fate of Bashar al-Assad and equally ambiguous in the fight against the Islamic State. Their race for hegemony in the Middle East is intensifying in the absence of American leadership. However Ankara knows that Washington is bound by Nato, whose return to the game can only antagonise Russia. … The internationalisation of the Syria conflict offers a fragile opportunity to bring the world together against the IS. Now, however, we are faced with another reality: if it fails, the logic of war could spin out of control."
Only IS benefits from downed Russian plane
The terrorist IS is the main beneficiary of this occurrence, comments the centre-left daily Frankfurter Rundschau: "Erdoğan and Putin are using the incident to exchange strong words aimed at keeping their audiences at home happy. Nato is busy trying to contain the damage. French President Hollande, meanwhile, has completed this disastrous picture by talking of war after the Paris attacks, conducting symbolic bombings on IS targets in Syria and visiting his allies to talk about the fight against the terrorists - as if this were an entirely new conflict rather than one in which countless people have already died over the years. The secret winners here are the 'holy warriors'. They are celebrating the weakness of the international community which has long been their main strength. And they will be delighted that hardly anyone is now pushing for the peace process urgently needed to end the Syrian civil war."