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Thread: Russia-Turkey spat nearing flashpoint

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    Senior Member Wattan's Avatar
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    Russia-Turkey spat nearing flashpoint

    When is it that a spat might get serious is hard to tell. A celebrated case in politics and history of course was the spat between King Henry II and Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury. It ended tragically. The only good thing to come out of the tragic assassination of Beckett was that, well, it inspired, 7 centuries and fifty years later, the English poet T. S. Eliot to pen his classic verse drama Murder in the Cathedral.

    The Russian-Turkish spat following the shooting down of a Russian jet in November has begun showing signs of getting serious. Four tell-tale signs appeared yesterday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made a startling, ominous remark during an interview with an Italian magazine that Moscow will not “forgive” Turkey (read Turkish leadership of President Recep Erdogan). The following excerpts would give an idea of the storms raging the Russian mind:

    Ankara’s action was an unprecedented challenge to the Russian Federation. Obviously, it was bound to affect Russian-Turkish relations – trust in Turkey as a partner has been seriously undermined… We will not forget Turkey’s aiding and abetting terrorists. At the same time we do not put an equal sign between a part of its ruling upper crust that is directly to blame for the death of our military servicemen in Syria and… Turkish people… Nonetheless, after this episode, the moment of truth is coming for all external players that have influence on the events in Syria. (Transcript)
    Also yesterday, Russian Defence Ministry came out with a statement that Moscow has “serious grounds to suspect Turkey of (making) intensive preparations” for a direct military intervention in Syria. The statement claimed that Moscow is in possession of “an increasing number of signs” that the Turkish military is making “hidden preparations” for crossing the border into Syria. It said Russian reconnaissance was being stepped up. (TASS).

    The backdrop also needs to be noted. The crunch time has come in the battle for control of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, which has been under the control of the rebels supported by Turkey for the past 2-3 years. The government forces have encircled the city. The fall of Aleppo can only mean that Turkey lost the war. Turkey’s remaining communication lines to the extremist groups in northern Syria are getting snapped and the flood gates are opening for the Kurdish militia to cross the Euphrates and make a bid for the Mediterranean coast, thereby unifying a Kurdish homeland in northern Syria. (Reuters)

    What worries Ankara most is the resultant boost to Kurdish nationalism. Turkey is barely coping with the Kurdish insurgency in its south-eastern regions and the emergence of a ‘Kurdistan’ just across the border in northern Syria becomes a ‘red line’. Meanwhile, Turkey’s ruling party yesterday took the veil off the pantomime that has been playing out so far to underscore that the real issue is that Turkey will not be bound anymore by the Middle East settlement that was forced on it as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire by Britain and France under the infamous Sykes-Picot Pact of 1916. The spokesman of Turkey’s ruling party AKP in remarks in Ankara yesterday virtually implied that the “artificial borders” that were created in the region (Iraq, Syria) may become irrelevant. (Hurriyet)

    To be sure, Turkey hopes to “internationalise” its predicament ensuing from the liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian government forces. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu chose a London forum to warn the European leaderships: “Ten thousand new refugees are waiting in front of the door of Kilis because of air bombardments and attacks against Aleppo.” The Syrian refugees are Turkey’s trump card to rally western countries to demand an end to the massive Russian aerial bombardment.

    Also yesterday, Turkey called back the Syrian opposition delegation attending the UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva. Erdogan asked rhetorically, “Russia continues to kill people in Syria. Can there be a gathering for peace? Can there be such peace talks?”

    To what extent Turkey is coordinating these posturings against Russia with the Obama administration remains unclear. (Vice-President Joe Biden visited Turkey recently.) On the other hand, Erdogan has a personal agenda, too, to whip up nationalist sentiments and xenophobia that might help him win a referendum he could order to seek approval for Turkey’s shift to a presidential system that would concentrate power in his hands and enable him to rule his fiefdom for the conceivable future, if not a lifetime.

    Turkish military traditionally has a cautious mindset. But what if it is ordered by Erdogan to cross the border into Syria? Russia has already deployed the formidable S-400 missiles that deter Turkish jets from flying in Syrian air space, and the peerless Sukhoi Su-35S multi-functional strike bomber, which is also devastating in conducting ground attacks. It seems, shall we say , ‘Check and checkmate’?

    At any rate, US Secretary of State John Kerry reconnected with Lavrov yesterday afternoon in an effort to put the Syrian peace talks back on track. They “discussed the current status of the Syrian peace settlement in great detail” and decided that it is about time the International Syria Support Group met again. This time around, it will be in Munich on coming Thursday.

    Now, wouldn’t the Pashas know they might end up like sitting ducks vis-a-vis predatory Russian air power and the Syrian and Kurdish forces locked in a war of attrition? As an invading army, Turkey has no grounds to invoke Article V of the NATO Charter to force its reluctant alliance partners into the Syrian cauldron.

    No, Erdogan cannot be so foolish. But then, fatal mistakes can happen when a spat suddenly heats up. When the four knights rode out to Canterbury to confront the Archbishop, they’d thought they were acting on royal command. At the end of the day, much would depend on what lingering impression Biden (who is no friend of Russia) left on Erdogan’s mind. All that Biden would say was that “Erdogan has seen the Lord” in the fight against the Islamic State. It can mean any of several things. The coming days and weeks will tell.


    By M K Bhadrakumar – February 5, 2016

    http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakuma...rediffmailcom/
    The Following User Says Thank You to Wattan For This Useful Post: Hariz


  2. #2
    Senior Member Fassi's Avatar
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    Re: Russia-Turkey spat nearing flashpoint

    With these 2 nations at stand off, who benefits? Think about it

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    Senior Member Hariz's Avatar
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    Re: Russia-Turkey spat nearing flashpoint

    Lets hope sane minds prevail and nothing happens to make a dangerous situation more so

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    Elite Member Sinan's Avatar
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    Re: Russia-Turkey spat nearing flashpoint

    Posting a article belong an Indian blogger about Turkey and Russia relations...funny.

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    Senior Member Hariz's Avatar
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    Re: Russia-Turkey spat nearing flashpoint

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinan View Post
    Posting a article belong an Indian blogger about Turkey and Russia relations...funny.
    He is former Indian ambassador to Russia

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    Senior Member Fassi's Avatar
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    Re: Russia-Turkey spat nearing flashpoint

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinan View Post
    Posting a article belong an Indian blogger about Turkey and Russia relations...funny.
    I think you will find he is more than a blogger sir.

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