A protester against the actions of the Turkish Air Forces at the Turkish Embassy in Moscow. Source: Alexander Vilf/RIA NovostiAlexander Vilf / 俄新社
Barely a few hours after Russians were informed that one of their aircraft had been shot down by the Turkish air force on 24th November, demonstrators gathered in front of the Turkish Embassy in Moscow, gradually swelling as the hours passed.
The reaction in Russia
The next day saw similar demonstrations not only in Moscow but in other cities like Kazan, Stavropol and St. Petersburg. In some places, social organizations arranged the demonstrations, elsewhere it was done by political parties or by people coming on their own initiative.
Russian social networks were flooded with harsh criticism of Turkey. Shortly after the incident, someone hashtagged #VozmezdieNeizbezhno (“RevengeIsInevitable”) a phrase that Russian President Vladimir Putin used after the bombing of a Russian passenger airliner in Egypt, and #UdarVSpinu (“StabInTheBack”), or how Putin characterized Turkey's action.
Using yet another popular hashtag, #NeEduvTurtsiyu (“NotGoingToTurkey”), Russians called on each other to cancel their plans to visit that country. Turkey is the top destination for Russian tourists. Others worried that they would not be able to see the tourist landmarks.
"Two, three years ago I thought, well, Egypt, but what's there to see? It's closed now but it won't go anywhere. I'll see it sooner or later. And Turkey? Everyone's been there except me," wrote one young woman.
However, there are people who do not share the prevailing mood and still want to vacation in Turkey.
"I'm preparing to go. If the military plane hadn't been flying over someone else's border, it wouldn't have been shot down. Have they forgotten how Russia once downed a Korean passenger plane [in 1983 – RIR], mistaking it for a military one?" wrote another web user.
The reaction in Turkey
For the second year in a row the only thing you hear on the streets of Istanbul are the words "Russia," "Russians," "Putin" and "Syria."
Mustafa Kaiya, from the Sehri Simit confectionery house in Istanbul’s Sisli district, laid the blame for the incident with the Russian plane at the door of the Kremlin.
"The Russian government is to blame for everything,” he said. “They were warned 10 times. Now big problems await Turkey and Russia. But the people are innocent. I've always had respect and admiration for the (Russian) people and will in the future."
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