November 25, 2015 | Quote
NATO Backs Turkey But Seeks to Lower Tensions With Russia
NATO says it stands with Turkey following an emergency meeting in Brussels of its 28 ambassadors requested by Ankara to discuss the downing a Russian warplane Tuesday by Turkish jets .
But Turkey’s NATO allies appeared eager to lower tensions, and in a low-key statement after the emergency meeting the bloc stressed the need to reduce the risks in Syrian and Turkish airspace.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for “calm and de-escalation.” He said the situation demanded prudence and he encouraged further talks between Ankara and Moscow to “resolve the incident and for strengthening mechanisms to avoid these kind of incidents.”
“This mess was utterly predictable,” said analyst Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank.
“With so many warplanes in the skies over Syria, altercations were almost guaranteed,” he added.
“The downed jet could obviously trip up recent French efforts to woo Moscow into the global anti-ISIS coalition,” warned Schanzer.
“The world now awaits Russia's reaction,” said Schanzer. “If Moscow considers this a deliberate hostile act, NATO will be drawn in, albeit reluctantly. Putin knew that he risked provoking other militaries when he entered the complex civil war Syria. This is one consequence,” he added.
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