TURKEY - With tensions rising on the ground in Syria as multiple nations engage in the fight against ISIS, one recent action in the sky is threatening the relationship between Turkey and Russia. Apparently, neither nation wants to say, "I'm sorry" after Turkey's armed forces shot down a Russian fighter jet earlier this week near the Syrian border.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says, "I think if there's a party that needs to apologize, it's not us." He believes Turkey was doing what it was supposed to, and Russia repeatedly ignored warnings about violating air space. Russia's President Vladimir Putin says a missile system has been put on combat duty at a base in Syria. "We considered Turkey to be a friendly country. We did not expect such an action, and that is why, that strike was unexpected."
Turkey says Russia is deceitful. Russia says Turkey is "trying to bring their relationship to a dead end." The back and forth is constant. It's also being watched by NATO members, including the United States.
"This could not have come at a worse time," says retired Lt. General, Mark Hertling. "Russia has been tweaking not only Turkey's nose the last several months, but NATO the last year or so."
Russia has suspended channels of cooperation between its military and Turkey's. That includes a hot line set up to avoid incidents like this one.
ISIS may be the common enemy, but that may not matter, if these two nations can't get along.