Cheating by default

This detailed map by the BBC tells the story. When I first saw a map of the area, at The Guardian, I could almost hear the pilot saying: “I’m not going to change course – it’s only five kilometers, man – avos’ pronesyot.” Doing the Russian thing, taking shortcuts.

The BBC’s map is more detailed than The Guardian‘s and shows the direction of the plane and the location of its fall. The map alone seems to show the Turkish attack was unnecessary if legal. On the other hand, it invites the obvious question, “What was the Russian plane doing up north?”

Instead of RTing the truth, the Kremlin had better tell it like it is. Ankara seems to be doing just that:

The Turkish government said the Russian plane had been warned 10 times to turn back as it approached the border, but had still flown into Turkish airspace for a few seconds.

They are almost flaunting the flimsiness of the substantial, as opposed to legalistic, justification for the attack on the Russian plane, which only spent “a few seconds” over Turkey.

And here’s Erdogan:

But everyone should respect the right of Turkey to defend its borders.

It’s as if Erdogan and Putin both spent their childhood getting mercilessly bullied: they are both insanely big on “respect”.

Over to Turkey’s allies:

Turkmen militiamen in Syria claimed to have shot the pilots as they descended on parachutes from the stricken Su-24 bomber… The rebels also posted footage appearing to show one of their missiles destroying a helicopter while it was on the ground, which they said was a Russian aircraft sent to rescue the downed Su-24 crew…

Shooting a parachutist and firing at a rescue mission: natural-born gentlemen. But then the Turkmens seem like Turkey’s own DNR so it’s all hardly surprising.

Too bad the Kremlin always behaves like a rotten brat who feels he’s done something awfully bad (again) and needs to lie about it (as usual). (There’s also the Russian defense ministry’s habitual lying.) Even on those rare occasions when it does the right thing, the Kremlin is like that – or like a pickpocket who’s just won a million dollars in a lottery: he can’t help pulling a Lincoln out a stranger’s purse, on autopilot. It’s lost on these KGB minds that telling the truth may have practical value.


  1. This is looking more and more like Turkey being pissed off with Russia for supporting Assad and/or attacking Turkmen instead of ISIS, and simply waiting for an opportunity to strike. The Russian plane’s blundering into Turkish airspace provided them with a neat opportunity to do so: it is hard to believe that the Turks would have shot the plane down for such a minor infraction had the two countries’ interests in Syria been aligned.

    • I’ve read up on Turkey’s support for the Turkomans of Syria. An alleged arms smuggling operation by an Erdogan ally was exposed by an opposition paper last year. This week, its editor in chief was arrested for spying because of that report. Just like the DNR and the Russian humanitarian convoys, although Putin did not arrest reporters for exposing the obvious.

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