There’s little doubt now in NATO circles and among the leading countries of the alliance – the US, Britain, France, Germany that the downing of Russia’s bomber Su-24 was indeed an act of aggression.
In fact, the Turkish Air Force has been trying to ambush Russian bombers in border areas for days. Everything was planned, including the presence of professional cameramen from a Turkish channel.
Once Washington acknowledged that the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian bomber over Syria, Ankara has been desperately trying to push the blame on Obama in order to hide behind Washington’s back.
On November 26 a number of Turkish TV-stations presented reports that the downing was allegedly approved by Barack Obama at the G-20 summit in Antalya. But it’s way too late.
His political career is almost finished – the murderers of Russian pilots have no place in politics. There’s a already a contender for his post – Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who considerably strengthened his positions in the recent elections.
Experts from around the world have been guessing what Russia’s response will be, for now one can already name a number of steps that Moscow has made:
- Complete ban of any tourist trips to Turkey. It will take no more than two weeks. There will be no cheap trips, no charters, no nothing. This will result in approximately 3.5 billion dollars lost by Turkey in just one year.
Preparations for “retaliation” strikes. To fulfill this goal Russia has deployed the high-end anti-air systems S-400 Triumf near Latakia. This has de facto created a no-fly zone over Syria for the Turkish Air Force.
- Russia is reducing the number of Turkish goods being sold at Russian markets. This will affect both food and industrial consumer goods. Turkey will be losing up to 2 billion dollars annually due to this step.
- Russia has closed all the projects that were connected with Turkey, including the construction of nuclear power plants. At the same time it will ban the activities of a number of Turkish companies in Russia.
- Russia is beginning to work in close political and military cooperations with the Kurdish political forces – the main threat to the central government in Ankara. This will strike a severe blow to Turkey’s political stability.
- Especially in a situation when Erdogan’s positions in Turkey are not nearly as strong as they look. He faces a number of serious contradictions within the ruling party, let alone the military circles.
But the most severe blow by far to Erdogan personally is an extensive media coverage of his relations with ISIL and the role his family plays in the smuggling business. It has been proved that president’s son Bilal works for Erdogan’s classmate and childhood friend who delivers stolen oil to Ukraine, Japan and a number of Asian countries. Revenue from these activities amounts to a staggering 5 billion dollars a year, with 2 billion going back to ISIL command structures for them to pay “salaries” to militants and purchase arms.
Moreover, the Erdogan family is involved in the production and trafficking of synthetic drugs. If there are journalists openly stating that on TV channels, one can be sure that the law enforcement agencies have already accumulated all the evidence needed to prosecute all of Erdogan’s family members.
Therefore, as soon as Turkish society starts associating Erdogan’s family with ISIL, it will associate it with the terrorist attacks carried out by ISIL in Turkey, the attacks that helped the rulling AKP party win the last parliamentary re-elections.
So Moscow is in no hurry in this situation, and there’s no way it can accept Ankara’s apologies, even if Erdogan is going to beg Vladimir Putin for mercy on his knees. As for the wave of terrorist attacks that started in Turkey after the downing of SU-24, it can mean only one thing – Turkish authorities do not control the situation in the country and cannot protect the lives of Turkey’s citizens or foreign tourists.
All this can result in the rapid disintegration of the country with the Kurdish areas breaking away, which means that the whole Southeastern Anatolia will become independent. As for the Hatay province, that is largely populated by Arabs, it can join Syria in the foreseeable future. It seems about time to return Armenian regions in the northwest of Turkey with Mount Ararat to Armenia.
And it won’t be of any use to wait for NATO’s cavalry, it just won’t come. After all, when Turkey joined NATO in February 1952, the West didn’t need this Islamic country, it was but a measure to counter the growing influence of the Soviet Union in the Middle East. But this was a deal with the devil.
This decision was short-sighted and unforgivable. Ultimately, this step created more problems for the West than it solved. Over the years, Turkey has become a spoiled and capricious NATO’s child to look after. Its invasion of Cyprus in 1974 caused a split in part of the alliance, and until 1980 Greece withdrew from the NATO command structure. In 2012, Syria shot down a Turkish plane that demonstratively violated its airspace. And today the Islamist Turkey uses its membership in NATO to achieve its own political objectives, which has nothing to do with NATO’s interests.
The radical Islamism has already bit Europe, striking in its heart – Paris. This resulted in the French president Francois Hollande demanding Washington to put aside its differences and disputes with Russia in order to fight the terrorist armies in a united broad coalition.
As it was underlined by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Turkey has de facto made an alliance with ISIL by supporting its oil smuggling activities. No wonder there’s a growing number of calls being voiced in the West to exclude Turkey from NATO and establish a closer cooperation with Russia, with which the West has much more in common than with the Islamic world.
In this regard, it’s curious that a well-known French political scientist Boualem Sansal believes that there are enemies that are way more dangerous than ISIL, since Turkey, the last Caliphate, is in the process of restoration of the Ottoman Empire.
The scientist is convinced that there’s going to be a bitter rivalry between Ankara and Tehran in the foreseeable future. The ambiguous position of Ankara on the migration crisis and its connections with ISIL, should lead the European elites to a conclusion that a tougher position towards Turkey must be adopted. It’s clear that EU voters will be support candidates with rigid position on Islam and Turkey.
There has been a number of dramatic changes to be witnessed in the Middle East in recent months. After urging all the parties involved in the Syrian conflict to listen to the voice of reason for three and a half years, the Russian government has decided to directly intervene in Syria, which led to a dramatic change in the balance of forces in the fight against terrorism.
The situation was, however, extremely explosive, since the Syrian sky was packed with war planes of four major world powers – the US, Russia, Britain and France, operating without any coordination between themselves.
One shouldn’t forget that Iran is also actively involved in Syria and it will be supporting the legitimate government of Bashar al-Assad till victory or bitter end. On the other hand Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are convinced that Assad should leave no matter what.
Allegedly, Israel is not directly involved in the war in Syria, but one shouldn’t forget that the Hezbollah squads have been deployed there, and to this date they remain the most dangerous enemy Israel has been fighting over the last ten years and will most likely still be forced to fight. But at the same time the sitting Turkish regime is the most hostile regime towards Israel throughout the history of bilateral relations.
All the parties involved in the Syrian conflict have different interests. As Vladimir Putin noted in his speech, there’s a major flow of stolen oil and oil products going into Turkey’s territory, which provides the Islamic State with huge financial recourses needed to sustain its fighting capacity.
This presents us all with a serious concern – a NATO member has been actively supporting radical Islamic terrorist groups, whether it’s ISIL in Syria and Iraq, or Hamas in the Gaza Strip. To this date for a number of reasons Western countries refrained from demanding the Turkish authorities to put an end to their connections with Islamist militants.
Petr Lvov (New Eastern Outlook)