The uncontrollable Turkish watchdog of the United States

by Prof Dr Albert A. Stahel, “Institut für Strategische Studien, Wädenswil” (Switzerland)

On 24 November, a Turkish fighter F-16 shot down a Russian bomber Su-24. According to the Turkish, the crew of the Su-24 were warned 10 times during 5 minutes, saying that they had penetrated Turkish airspace with their fighter aircraft above the Province of Hatay.1 The Russians deny that there had been an intrusion by the Russian bomber. Fact is that the Su-24 crashed on Syrian territory.2 This crash site was also shown and as well commented on Russian television on 24 November 2015 (in Moscow). The pilot as well as the navigator managed to active their ejection seats. While the navigator could be saved by Syrian troops, supported by Russian Spetznaz, the pilot was shot down and killed by Turkmen with infantry weapons.3 Following this Turkmen attacked a Russian Mi-8 helicopter on its way to rescue the crew with their infantry weapons. A Russian soldier was killed. Then, they destroyed the helicopter with American guided anti-tank missiles TOW.4
Merely because of the site of the crash of the bomber, the Russian version must be seen as the correct one. Furthermore, it should be noted that Turkey has supplied political support and probably weapons to the Turkmen against the Assad regime in the area of Jabal al-Turkman of the Syrian province of Latakia.5 Ankara has repeatedly protested against the Russian air-to-ground attacks against the Turkmen, and Erdogan has publicly claimed to defend of the Turkmen by Turkey. At that time Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that the crew of the downed bomber had had to attack the Turkmen of this area.6 Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the shooting down of the bomber  “a perfidious stab” and the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov called it “a planned provocation”.7
What are the immediate effects of the shooting-down? The Russian defense minister has ordered that from now on all bombers will be protected by fighters Su-30.8 that the downed Su-24 had no such protection was stupid. Furthermore, as the Russian television showed on 25 November, a battery of modern air defense system S-400 will be at the airfield Hmeimim in Latakia. In the future, every fighter that threatens a Russian bomber will be shot down by Su-30 or by S-400.
Putin has demanded an apology from Erdogan. The latter refused it by demanding Russia to apologise for the intrusion into the Turkish airspace.9 As an immediate measure; Russia has stopped the import of Turkish foodstuffs. Furthermore, the visa requirement for Turks to Russia has been re-introduced. The Russian financing of the construction of a nuclear power plant in Turkey is likely to be frozen. Maybe Russia will take further economic measures against Turkey.
Barack Obama has so far carefully commented the shooting-down and in a kind of Nibelung-loyalty to his ally has emphasised Turkey’s right to protect and defend its own airspace.10 Given the fact, that in the near future the tensions along the Syrian-Turkish borders could increase even more, the US and its allies should revise their relations with Turkey. To avoid a further escalation of the air war the United States should chain their watchdog up again, since it (Turkey) has hitherto always been loyal followers to the US interests in the Middle East. However, this will not be easy since Erdogan is not interest in defeating the Islamic State (IS).    •

1    Oliker, O. and J. Mankoff, Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet, Center for Strategic & International Studies, CSIS, Washington DC, 25 November 2015, p. 1
2    Stratfor, Russia, Turkey: Two Versions of the Same Story, 25 November 2015, 20:18
3    Oliker, O. and J. Mankoff, p. 1
4    Stratfor, What to Expect After the Downing of a Russian Fighter Jet, 24 November 2015, 19:47
5    Oliker, O. and J. Mankoff, p. 2
6    Oliker, O. and J. Mankoff, p. 2
7    Oliker, O. and J. Mankoff, p. 1
8    Oliker, O. and J. Mankoff, p. 2
9    Ostroukh, A., Dagher, S., Abdulrahim, R., Alakraa, M.N., Lubold, G. and J. Barnes, Turkey Downs Russian Jet; Ankara claims fighter violated airspace; Moscow says it was over Syrian territory, in: The Wall Street Journal, 25 November 2015, p. A1/A4
10    Stratfor, US, France: Presidents Respond to Downed Russian Fighter Jet, 24 November 2015, 18:14

Source: Institut für Strategische Studien, www.strategische-studien.com from 29.11.2015

(Translation Current Concerns)

Who with whom against whom?

On the occasion of the press conference with President Hollande, President Putin made it clear once again that Russia is going to inform the Americans regarding the routes and destinations of all flights scheduled for attack in Syria as agreed: “The US-led coalition, which includes Turkey, was aware of the time and place where our planes would operate. And this is exactly where and when we were attacked.” The propaganda flood over 17 seconds, “airspace  violation” should therefore now really come to an end: The downing of the aircraft was an ambush, which Erdogan’s air force could not have laid without US support. The fact that the US-Syria Coordinator General John Allen (Obama’s enemy and neocon) approved  the hit, is likely.

Source: www.broeckers.com/tag/syrien/  dated 29.11.2015

(Translation Current Concerns)