A Turkish 5 minutes

Apparently political leaders and governments do not sustain a healthy relationship with mathematics and geography. The list can grow endlessly longer and longer, but I would like to point to a recent event, especially that it seems no one in the media addressed this event from this particular angle.

On November 24, 2015, Turkish air force downed a Russian Jet on the Syrian-Turkish border. The aim of this post is only to examine the Turkish official narrative on two levels: the location of the crash site, and the 5 minutes warning period.

According to Turkey, two aircraft approached Turkish airspace, they were warned 10 times over a period of 5 minutes, and then they flew 2.19km and 1.85km respectively into Turkey for 17 seconds near the town of Yayladagi in Hatay province. Turkey also released an image showing the paths of the aircrafts, where the incursion occurred, as well the crash site:


Most media produced maps showing these paths, as well as the Russian claim of their jet trajectory, I’ll take the map produced by the BBC, and superimpose on it the areas of control of the Syrian regime and its opponent. This simple exercise clearly shows that according to the Turkish government, the crash site is in Regime held territory, while most evidence at the moment points that the jet crashed in rebel held areas.

As for the second point, it is a simple mathematical exercise. Let us begin by estimating the speed of the Russian Su-24 jet. The jets flew for 2.19km and 1.85km above Turkey for 17 seconds, therefore their speed is 463km/h and 392km/h respectively (the maximum speed of a Su-24 is 1315km/h)

we need to fix certain parameters, so let’s assume that the jets flew at a constant speed of 400km/h, and that the 10 Turkish warning were delivered at an equal intervals, which means, 1 warning every 33.3 seconds. Also, let’s consider that the last warning was issued the moment the Russian jets breached the Turkish airspace.

According to this scenario, we can draw a map showing the location of the jets, the moment warnings were issued:

(I’ll be using the map produced by The New York Times, and add circles for the warnings with the respective number of the warning- orange circles are warnings for the downed jet, the blue ones for the second Russian jet):

This exercise can determine, approximately, that Turkish warnings began at a time when the Russian jets trajectories were not heading towards Turkey, but rather to the east, and away from Turkish border.

Obviously, the Turkish government and military can read into the future …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s