Turkey could only have shot down a Russian Su-24 military jet after securing permission from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), charged Lebanon’s Druze leader Walid Jumblatt in an exclusive interview with Breitbart.
“The Turks cannot afford to shoot down a Russian plane, being a member of NATO, without asking the permission of NATO. They have to ask NATO. It’s NATO,” said Jumblatt, a member of parliament and leader of Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party.
Jumblatt is considered the leader of Lebanon’s historic Druze community.
“I know that this jet was shot down by the Turks and directly [by] the Cold War between NATO and Russia,” Jumblatt added.
Asked to confirm whether he was accusing NATO of approving Turkey’s downing of the Russian jet, Jumblatt replied:
“I think so, because such a major action cannot be taken on a local level. A Turkish level. Because so many times the Turkish airspace was violated. Now this is something else. It’s a new dimension in international politics.”
Jumblatt said this so-called new dimension is marked by the Turkey-Russia confrontation.
“From one side you have the Americans and their allies fighting ISIS. And they are at odds with the Russian policy, because Russian policy, from Ukraine to Crimea, there is tension about it. Now there is tension about Syria. Russia favors the Syrian regime. Whereby NATO, theoretically they want to topple the (Bashar) Assad regime. They want a transitional period in Syria. These are the broad lines.”
The Druze leader’s comments came as the confrontation between Turkey and Russia escalated, and Russian President Vladimir Putin implied that the U.S. may have passed Russian flight information to Turkey.
“The American side, which leads the coalition that Turkey belongs to, knew about the location and time of our planes’ flights, and we were hit exactly there and at that time,” Putin said at a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande.
Putin dismissed Turkey’s claim that it would have refrained from firing on the aircraft if it had known it was from Russia.
“They [our planes] have identification signs and these are well visible,” said Putin. “Instead of … ensuring this never happens again, we are hearing unintelligible explanations and statements that there is nothing to apologize about.”
The Turkish military claims it warned the Russian warplane that it was violating Turkish airspace 10 times in five minutes. Russia says it can prove its aircraft was flying over Syria and it received no prior warnings.
Meanwhile, Putin accused Turkey of accepting oil smuggled by ISIS.
“Vehicles, carrying oil, lined up in a chain going beyond the horizon resembling a living oil pipe. Day and night they are going to Turkey. Trucks always go there loaded, and back from there – empty.
“We assume that the top political leadership of Turkey might not know anything about this [illegal oil trade]. Hard to believe, but it is theoretically possible.”
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan refuted the charge, saying: “Those who claim we buy oil from Daesh [ISIS] are obliged to prove it.”