Co-authored with Yusuf Buluç (*)
December 16, 2015
Downing of Russia’s Su-24 bomber on November 24, 2015 has led to tensions between Ankara and Moscow putting decades-long cooperation in danger.
Before the incident, a Russian military delegation headed by Major General Dronov, Deputy Commander of the Russian Air Forces visited Ankara on 15 October 2015. According to the statement issued by Turkey’s General Staff, the purpose of the visit was to clarify the reasons underlying the violations of Turkish airspace on 3-4 October and the measures taken to prevent their recurrence. Apparently, the Russian side also apologized and that was the end of it. Why the two sides did not conclude a “de-confliction agreement”, like Russia and the US had done, remains an open question. Yes, Russian and American military aircraft are engaged in combat operations over Syria and Turkey is not, but more could and should have been done. Okumaya devam et →
November 27, 2015
“Syria: Only More Trouble Ahead” was the title of a piece I wrote in early May. In a region characterized by abundance of gloom and scarcity of hope that much was easy to predict. I would readily admit, however, that the likelihood of a military incident between Turkey and Russia did not even cross my mind. Yes, Russia was supporting the regime, Turkish government the opposition and Ankara remained obsessed with Assad but Turkish-Russian relations seemed to be on track. All of a sudden the picture has changed. Because, what happened on November 24 was not an “accident” but an “incident”. President Putin is now venting anger over the shooting down of the Russian SU-24 warplane and the loss of a pilot. Moreover, he is directing far-reaching accusations against the Turkish government for having links to the Islamic State (ISIL). In response, Turkish leadership is saying that more than enough warnings had been issued for airspace violations. And, they are rejecting ISIL related accusations as slander. This much is clear: Turkey and Russia will stick to their diametrically opposite views on the incident. Okumaya devam et →