NATO Integration

Manipulation that NATO Allegedly did not Protect Turkey from Russian Aggression

11 December, 2019

On December 4, a member of the fifth convocation of the Parliament of Georgia and a political scientist, Hamlet Chipashvili stated on air at TV Obiektivi’s program “Night Studio” that Georgia should not put its trust in NATO, as it does not even help its member states. To illustrate this, Chipashvili recalled a Russian military aircraft shot down by Turkey in 2015, which, according to Chipashvili, was followed by Turkey’s request towards NATO to protect it from retaliatory aggression from Russia, only to be rejected by NATO.

Hamlet Chipashvili, political scientist: “When the Government of Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet in the Syrian airspace for allegedly violating the Turkish airspace, it was followed by, let us say, very big discontent from Russia. Turkey felt it right away and knocked on NATO’s door the day after. Turkish delegation visited Brussels and requested protection from Russian aggression. The answer was: solve your own problems with Russia yourselves, we have nothing to do with it… Why? Because NATO will not sacrifice itself for anyone due to fear of Russia - especially for Georgia.”

Hamlet Chipashvili’s claim that NATO did not protect Turkey from Russian aggression, is a manipulation. In fact, the Turkish-Russian relations did not escalate into a war following the shooting down of the Russian fighter jet in 2015, therefore NATO’s involvement was not needed. In light of the events, NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg expressed support to Turkey during an emergency NATO meeting in Brussels.

  • NATO expressed its support to Turkey.

On November 24, 2015, after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet, an emergency NATO meeting was called by Turkey in Brussels. During the meeting, NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg stated that the alliance expresses solidarity and support to Turkey. Moreover, both Stoltenberg and then United States President Barack Obama noted that Turkey had every right to defend its airspace. In addition, a US military spokesman confirmed that the Turkish side warned Russian pilots 10 times prior to the shooting down.

Besides supporting Turkey, Stoltenberg called on both sides to avoid the escalation of the conflict.

  • In November 2015, the United States allocated additional fighter jets to protect the Turkish airspace.

In October 2015, until the aforementioned incidents had taken place, Russia violated the Turkish airspace on several occasions, which was protested both by Turkey and NATO. As a response, on November 6, the United States, based on a request from the Government of Turkey, sent six additional F-15C Eagle fighter jets to protect the sovereignty of the Turkish airspace and carry out patrolling.

On November 24, 2019, a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24 military aircraft, with the official reason being the violation of the Turkish airspace. Turkey stated that the aircraft was warned 10 times prior to being shot down – something that the United States confirmed as well. Russia denied that there have been any warnings and noted that the aircraft was in the Syrian airspace.

As a response to the event, Russia abolished visa-free regime with Turkey and banned chartered flights between the two countries. Restrictions were imposed on products imported from Turkey as well. Despite the tightening relationships, Turkey has not faced the threat of a direct military threat from Russia.