Not long time ago the world witnessed an unprecedented air accident since the Cold War. Turkish Air Force has shot down Russian military aircraft which allegedly had violated the border and invaded the country’s airspace. Moreover one of the pilots who bailed out was shot dead by gunmen of Syrian moderate opposition, which is also supported by Turkey. Did someone decide to play around with Russian bear and challenge it to a duel? Moreover – why? Maybe there is some other game? Let’s try to understand.
The first thought that comes to any supporter of conspiracy theories that all these tricks are made by the US government, because provocation is the most favorite method of American geopolitics since the Spanish-American War in 1898. These smart guys will add that Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks are also worth mentioning. So Washington forced Ankara to take such a risky step, because Turkey is the member NATO and everyone understands the true role of America in this Alliance. But the question remains – why?
The US government doesn’t yield any benefits from this situation. Provoke Moscow for tough actions such as downing some Turkish aircraft as a revenge and then to strike at the Russians using the position of the charter under which “an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies”. Bullshit! Obama doesn’t need a war with Putin, even if it’s low-intense conflict in the Black Sea region. So such theory does not hold water.
Now let’s try to imagine that Turkey is not a pawn which Washington sacrifices in a big party against the Russians. Imagine that Turkey is a player who has calculated the whole match game on the basis of his own interests, taking the advantage of the status of the NATO member. Therefore, considering the geopolitical ambitions of President Erdogan everything falls into place. So, let’s start from the beginning.
The Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan is known not only for his desire to Islamize Turkey which had chosen the secular path of development during the reign of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, but also for his imperial ambitions. Some even believe that he sees himself as the new sultan of Ottoman Empire. The Turks don’t even conceal the fact that Northern provinces of Syria predominantly populated by Syrian Turkmen will become their first territorial acquisition by 2020. For this purpose they need only to get rid of President Bashar Assad. After his resignation Ankara will be able to reach agreement with the new government in Damascus, and if not, Syria won’t be able to resist the Turkish army. In addition the Turkmen militias fighting against the Assad regime mainly consist of Turkish citizens and there are a large number of professional Turkish soldiers among them. In case of intransigence of Syria’s new government, they will quickly explain their ex-allies what the right of the nation to self-determination means.
Suddenly, Putin interfered this carefully constructed geopolitical game by his own military campaign against ISIS. Erdogan having understood that his plan was falling apart repeatedly urged to declare no-fly zone over the Syrian-Turkish border. This way he wanted to cover “his” men and his far-reaching ambition from Russian airstrikes. Of course neither Washington nor Brussels didn’t want to do such radical steps because they were baseless and futureless.
So Erdogan famous for his impulsiveness went on a risky step, Turkish Air Force deliberately downed a Russian bomber on the border with Syria. The plan was the following: Russia will react firmly and open return fire on the Turkish aircraft, alarm its Black Sea fleet, introduce a naval blockade of the Turkish coast and strike neighboring Turkish airbase. The provocation was to cause impulsive and thoughtless reaction and a desire for revenge at any cost. In this case Turkey would turn into the victim of aggression. Of course the war with Russia would not follow but Erdogan with the support of the US and NATO would be able to declare no-fly zone over Syrian territory, which is falling the scope of his interests. Thus the slow process of the northern Syrian regions annexation would be launched.
However, the Russian leader defeated his opponent. Putin limited himself to very strong statements and economic sanctions. Erdogan’s plan collapsed. It’s the fiasco because Turkmen areas are not only the first steps towards imperial ambitions, but also the direct route to Rojava which acquires the shape of the first Kurdish state. In case of its sovereignty, whether recognized or not, it will turn into the symbol of the success of struggle for independence for all Kurds.
Such situation is able to redraw the map of the region and this is the threat to the territorial integrity of Turkey. That’s why Turkish jets bomb positions of Syrian Kurds who fight ISIS. That’s why Erdogan wants to turn the north of Syria including Kurdistan into the buffer zone through annexation or occupation.
And now I want to raise the first question – does Obama care that he is used by not the most important regional ally as a cover to resolve the ally’s small problems? I answer it – no, he doesn’t because America stud up for the country which had deliberately destroyed the military aircraft of the power with which Washington didn’t have really cordial relations.
Fortunately Putin responded with restraint and “little green men” didn’t appear on the Turkish coast. And what if it did not happen? So I raise the second question – who would ensure the independence of Turkey if the Russians began a full-scale war? The answer is – US troops in Europe! And once again coffins covered with Star and Stripes would fly to the United States. What for? For the implementation of the imperial ambitions of the man who imagines himself the new sultan?
And now please answer the final question – does America need such friends?