Erdogan's Spin Machine Now Blames Su-24 Shoot-Down on Turkish Air Force Chief
Originally Appeared at German Economic News. Translated from the German by Susan Neumann.
Numerous well-known AKP supporters have launched a campaign against the head of the Turkish Air Force in Turkey. It's claimed that he could have shot down the Russian jet without the knowledge and approval of the President. Members of Erdogan’s government are calling for the resignation of the Commander General.
According to the Turkish newspaper Sözcü, several Twitter accounts which have over the years been used to campaign against critics of the AKP government, are now railing against the Commander General of the Turkish Air Force, Abidin Ünal.
The argument is that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn’t know about the launch command against the Russian jet, but found out about it after the fact. The Air Force chief is said to have acted on his own and is accused of intentionally compromising Turkish-Russian relations. He’s referred to in the social media as "incompetent loser" who hides behind Erdogan's back, afraid to admit his guilt. Twitter users demand the immediate resignation of Ünal, according to the news portal Haberarti Türk.
The argument presented by the AKP-friendly Twitter users is incomprehensible because Erdogan had already said publicly that he was the one who had given the order to shoot down the plane. Under Turkish law, the President is the supreme commander of the Turkish Armed Forces. Apparently Commander General Abidin Ünal is going to serve as the fall guy to help take pressure off Turkish-Russian relations.
Erdogan had consistently tried to contact Putin in recent weeks to arrange a meeting with him. Putin categorically refused each of Erdogan’s requests and demanded an apology him (video at the beginning of the article). However, Erdogan says there is nothing to apologize for. The Russian pilots should have simply reacted to the warnings.
Yet Putin has also made a move towards Erdogan. On Tuesday the Kremlin sharply criticized the anti-Turkish violence in Russia.