He knew he was in trouble when the Pentagon leaked that the Turkish Phantom RF-4E shot down last week by Syrian anti-aircraft artillery happened off the Syrian coastline, directly contradicting Erdogan's account, who claimed it happened in international air space.
And it got worse; Moscow, via Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, offered "objective radar data" as proof.
There was not much to do except change the subject. That's when Ankara introduced a de facto buffer zone of four miles (6.4km) along the Syrian-Turkish border - now enforced by F-16s taking off from NATO's Incirlik base at regular intervals.
Ankara also dispatched tanks, missile batteries and heavy artillery to the 500 mile (800km) border, right after Erdogan effectively branded Syria "a hostile state".
What next? Shock and awe? Hold your (neo-Ottoman) horses.