Russia describes the attack by Turkey on one of its jets flying near the Tukey/Syrian border as a “stab in the back” by “accomplices of terrorists.” Despite statements from Turkey that the aircraft encroached into their territory, Russia has committed that they were flying within Syrian borders. This incident has already shown signs of further consequences for Turkey/Russia relations. Putin has cancelled a trip to Turkey meant for this week and warned Russian citizens not to travel to the country. It is possible that Russia will also follow these actions with economic sanctions, which is problematic due to their already significant economic relationship. Turkey imports around 60 percent of its natural gas from Russia and had a deal with a Russian-owned firm to build their own nuclear plant.
One of the biggest questions following the incident is how this will affect the already complicated situation in Syria and Iraq. Because of the involvement of Turkey, who is a member of NATO, NATO has already called an emergency meeting concerning the incident. And while the likelihood of war following the event is very low, there are likely to be serious repercussions. In addition, it will be interesting to see how this attack affects the opinion of Russian citizens back home. Russia was already victim to a previous attack when a place carrying several Russian citizens to Russia from Egypt was bombed weeks ago. With domestic support for involvement in the region low already, this could have a more negative impact. However, it is likely that Putin could spin it in a way that Russia needs to be even more aggressive in the region as their reputation has been hurt by the incident.
With many experts pushing for a more united front against the spread of ISIS in the region, conflict between external states that are already involved could prove counter-productive in efforts to achieve regional stability. As this event increases the diplomatic rift between Turkey and Russia, this could possibly lead to increased obstacles for US/Russian cooperation in the conflict, as well.