This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Turkey's Bad Chess Move

"We have every reason to believe that a decision to shoot down our plane was prompted by a desire to ensure security of that oil to the territory of Turkey and on to sea ports for loading into tankers."
"We have received additional information confirming that oil from [ISIL]-controlled deposits flows into Turkey on an industrial scale."
"We will strive for helping form a working broad coalition [however impossible it is to unite global efforts against ISIL while] some use terrorist organizations to achieve momentary political goals and fail to observe the UN Security Council resolutions banning the sales of illegally produced oil."
Russian President Vladimir Putin
A Russian warplane goes down in Syria's Bayirbucak region, near the Turkish border, on November 24, 2015.
Russian warplane goes down in Syria's Bayirbucak near the Turkish border on November 24, 2015 : CNN

Oh, fascinating to see Mr. Putin blandly turning himself into knots of sincere sanctimony on UN Security Council resolutions and illegal actions. It is so apparent that the international community is entirely confused in its deciphering of illegality, in its views that Moscow has become a global outlaw for requisitioning an important heritage site that naturally belongs to Russia, while bleeding in compassion for a country that deserves to be scorned; Russia knows the perfidy of Ukraine. The West knows nothing about eastern European politics.
"No Turkish prime minister or president will apologize ... because of doing our duty."
"Protection of Turkish airspace, Turkish borders is a national duty, and our army did their job to protect this airspace."
"But if the Russian side wants to talk, and wants to prevent any future unintentional events like this, we are ready to talk."
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Talks between the Russian and the Turkish presidents are simply not on. Although most certainly Mr. Erdogan does feel regret, he has, he states firmly, nothing to apologize for. Russia, on the other hand, might consider apologizing to Turkey for allowing one of its bombers to enter Turkish airspace for a full 17 seconds, even while Turkish authorities spent five minutes in repeatedly instructing the Russian pilot to turn back or face consequences. Although the pilot is dead, the co-pilot heard no such warning, but then Russian flights are known to turn their transponders off.

So, while Mr. Putin is fuming at a recalcitrant Mr. Erdogan, Mr. Putin feels more benevolently toward U.S. President Barack Obama: "We have an understanding how we should proceed if we talk about a political settlement. We need to work on a new [Syrian] constitution, new elections and the control over their outcome". Well, then, moving in tandem to secure peace for Syria? By de-installing the current President, Bashar al-Assad? Not quite.

Perhaps Mr. Obama has pointed out to Mr. Putin the utility of attacking Islamic State instead of the U.S.-backed rebels? Offering the proof that the rebels and the Kurdish military have effectively blockaded Islamic State from further advances? And the positive effect of the U.S.-led coalition bombing ISIL-controlled oil trucks transporting the product to black markets, including Turkey's? Of course civilian casualties are tragic, but war is war.
The US dropped these leaflets to warn civilian truck drivers of an incoming airstrike on 283 oil truck tankers in Syria on Sunday, urging them to get out of their trucks and run before the attacks beganĀ 
The US dropped these leaflets to warn civilian truck drivers of an incoming airstrike on 283 oil truck tankers in Syria on Sunday, urging them to get out of their trucks and run before the attacks began
Funny thing about the inviolability of airspace; Russian planes enter Israeli airspace often, and nothing untoward occurs; there is an agreement in place and contact ensures no misunderstandings occur. Moreover Turkish planes invite themselves to enter Greek airspace often, conducting bombing missions into northern Iraq at will. The Turkish General Staff made note in a news release that Turkish airspace had been entered over a hundred times, often by the Greek air force, before the unfortunate Russian bomber downing.

There are those who believe that what was at play here was a gamble by President Erdogan to scupper any possible alliance between Russia and the coalition fighting ISIL, let alone the possibility of agreement to permit President Assad to remain however temporarily in power. NATO, in any event, cannot be too terribly pleased by the preemptive move deliberately taken by an irate, volatile Islamist in Turkey. 

On the collapse of the Ottoman Empire ethnic Turks living in Syria among its Arab population simply stayed where they were, close to the border with Turkey. When the civil war broke out with Sunni Syrians rebelling with cause against the tyranny of the minority Shiite Syrian regime, the Turkmen simply joined the Syrian opposition. That the Russian bombers were targeting Turkmen villagers on Turkey's border did present as sufficient offence for Turkey to act.

Turkey's Erdogan is out of his league. His Islamist credentials and his hardening of his country in targeting the Kurds will yet come back to bite him. Turkish nationalists have no truck with Kurdish aspirations, all too many gloated when the bombs killed 40 in Suruc and again one hundred Kurds and leftist peacemakers in Istanbul. The courageous determination of the Kurds in Iraq and Syria to hold their own and offer at the same time protection to minorities in their autonomous democracy will lead to Erdogan's nightmare scenario of an sovereign Kurdistan carved out of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

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