Does downing of Russian aircraft hint a change of Turkish foreign policy?

The remnants of the Russian jet shot down by Turkey. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROMHd80PIuI

The remnants of the Russian jet shot down by Turkey. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROMHd80PIuI 

2015/11/24 • Politics

I must “confess” that I am cheerful that my country boasts the honor of being the first NATO member to shoot down a Russian aircraft. As I mentioned in my previous article, I do not believe that Putin’s neo-sovietism will stop invading countries and sowing seeds of turmoil in the vicinity because of mere condemnations and expressions of discontent. Putin is a tyrant who gets hungrier more he is fed. Giving in to his demands and extortions will not satisfy the new Red danger, will just feed the bear to become even more reckless. Some party had to do something serious against this new irredentism and Turkey stepped forward.

However, in order to understand what does this action mean in long term, one has to understand domestic politics of Turkey. Erdoğan, not really different than Putin when it comes to hunger for power and warmongering, should not be underestimated.

President Erdoğan’s party, AKP, has been ruling the government for more than a decade. One of the most remarkable changes during AKP regime was the nation-wide natural gas infrastructure expansion. Even the smallest towns in Turkey now have access to natural gas for heating and other purposes, which gradually increased Turkey’s dependency on Russian gas. Such a strategical mistake cost Turkey its freedom in international arena: Russia used this dependency as a weapon to intimidate Turkish steps when it crosses that of Putin’s, as well as threatening Turkish producers to cease importing agricultural products which constitutes a huge share of total exports of Turkey. The same can also be said to a degree regarding Germany’s mild attitude towards Russia.

Winning the hearts of voters thanks to natural gas being available in almost every household, Erdoğan quickly found himself getting aligned with the eastern bloc more and more. Several deals with Russia and China, such as nuclear energy agreement with the former and missile system purchase deal with the latter, angered the western allies. Stances regarding Kurdish terrorism made it almost tangled: Russia did not recognize PKK as a terrorist organization, NATO did. But US apparently supported Kurds, on the other hand Erdoğan and US were against Assad regime, while Russia was supporting Assadists.

Therefore, President Erdoğan’s future attempts are unpredictable. All he cares is strengthening his position at his post, there is nothing he would hesitate to do when it comes to secure his power and wealth.

But I do believe that downing of the aircraft was not directly ordered by Erdoğan, instead, I believe Turkish Armed Forces, after a long while, took the initiative and used its authority to shoot down any aircraft violating the Turkish border, and the authorization had been granted without being meant to used, in my opinion. Putin’s statement of being stabbed in the back assures me that this was not Erdoğan’s, at least direct, work.

As Erdoğan was warm towards Putin during G20 summit and was not so quick to anger his trade partner previously, I believe some inner dynamics of Turkey is dragging Erdoğan away from the Russian agenda. Next steps by Erdoğan should be watched carefully to discover hints regarding the future of his foreign policy.

Apart from all, I am happy that Turkmens in Syria are saved from a total annihilation thanks to the intervention of Turkish jets. I do not expect anything “righteous” from Erdoğan’s government, and do not believe that he will suddenly decide to champion human rights and solidarity with Turkmens. But if both Turkish and international public opinion exerts pressure, perhaps even Erdoğan can be forced to do the right and good.

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  • Czech Mate

    Anybody still doubt that Vladolf Putler is a bully and a typical coward?!

    What more evidence is there for Ukraine now that they have to confront him the way Turkey did? Forget about the useless idiots in EU and White House but today has finally showed what many knew from the beginning.

    Putler is evil but weak but cowardly rat who will be beaten by show of strenghth like every bully before him.

    Stay strong and keep fighting Ukraine, victory is near!

    • Lana C

      Does Ukraine have the equipment to confront Russia as Turkey did? Ukraine has been under the Russian boot for quite awhile and Russia kept Ukrainian military infested and weak otherwise Ukraine would not be asking for help. But if Ukraine has the capability they should go for it. I really don’t know who doesn’t think that Putin is evil only the putinbots and brainwashed Russians think Putin is great.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        Igor Girkin (admittedly not the “best” of witnesses) stated in an interview with a Dwarfstan website that in his opinion the Ukrainian army will be able to take on the Dwarfstan army with a good chance of winning next year. While I think that Girkin is a bit optimistic it IS true that the Ukrainian army is no longer an outfit suitable only for parades, but has become a serious fighting force that Dwarfstan can no longer dismiss as irrelevant. Instructors from the US, UK, Canada and Poland are training the Ukrainian army; in exchange they are getting the most up to date experience of how to fight Dwarfstan’s army. I have also read that the Netherlands are helping with improving the Ukrainian army’s logistics, but haven’t been able to confirm this so far.
        But why attack? Better to wait, let Dwarfstan’s money run out, let Dwarfstan’s forces suffer casualties in Syria, let Dwarfstan’s economy collapse. Sooner or later the demented dwarf will be forced through lack of cash to abandon the Donbas. Isn’t it infinitely better to liberate the occupied territories without suffering any casualties? Furthermore, in 14 months Obama will be gone and hopefully his successor won’t be such a spineless jellyfish. The old Stones song “Time is on my side” does not apply to the dwarf.

        • Lana C

          I do agree about the shirtless dwarf. But for the life of me I don’t understand this constant criticism in regards to President Obama since he has been working with allies in regards to Ukraine. As you mentioned in your comment, instructors from the US are training Ukraine army, police department from California was training the police. If you are thinking about the Budapest Pact, it
          was not a defense pact. USA and UK promised not to attack Ukraine but it was never promised that the US/UK would put boots on the ground if Ukraine was attacked. If a party would use nuclear weapons against Ukraine all parties would get together and talk. If you think that if the GOP wins it would be better I doubt it. Georgia was invaded during Bush’s presidency and even though he and Cheney complained neither of them did one thing to help Georgia, not even sanctions.

          • Scradje

            I know we touched on this one before Lana, but it is maybe worth revisiting. Although Obama has undoubtedly been helpful to Ukraine, its citizens may well feel that it was not enough. Just as Dubya’s weak response to the invasion of Georgia was nowhere near enough – Putler still occupies 20% of their land, which is just not acceptable. There is a clear obligation under Budapest to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. As soon as RuSSia invaded, co-signatories the US and UK should have provided Ukraine with the defensive capability to ensure that any further incursions onto its territory would have resulted in unnacceptable losses for the enemy. That alone would have sent out the right message, but backed up with sanctions with real teeth, it may well have resulted in a withdrawal by the occupier and even a workable peace deal instead of the rubbish of Minsk 1&2.

          • Sania

            Crudje, tell me,why Georgia bombed Ossetia and khuev dirty rebel were during Olympic games in non west countries?

          • Scradje

            Tell me why RuSSia keeps murdering its neighbors, stealing their land and using poisonous little fascist trolls like you to spread lies and hate about its victims? Why don’t you just stick to what you do best, murdering your own people?

          • Scradje

            Stop supporting your criminal government when it invades other people’s land and commits mass murder, you na#i thug.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Tell me why the demented dwarf’s FSB thugs blew up apartment blocks in several Dwarfstan cities in 1999, murdering his own citizens, then accused the Chechens of blowing them up. If that were not enough he then sent his soldiers into Chechnya, who murdered some 300,000 Cehchens. Why?

            Next, the dwarf attacked Georgia for no good reason, bombed several Georgian towns and cities including Gori (birthplace of his Great Hero and Shining Example Stalin), killing numerous Georgian civilians. Why did he illegally seize Abkhazia and South Ossetia? Why does he keep expanding their territories?

            Why did the dwarf send Girkin and his thugs to illegally invade the Crimea? Why did he then send Girkin, Bezler and other thugs to destabilize the Donbas and start a war with Kyiv, resulting in thousands of deaths and wounded, not to mention destroy much of the Donbas?

            Why did the dwarf openly threaten his allies Lukashenko and Nazarbaev with invasions?

            And finally, why did the dwarf have the FSB blow up the Metrojet Airbus over the Sinai, killing over 200 of his own countrymen?

            One can only conclude that the dwarf is criminally insane.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            For Minsk I and Minsk II one should blame Frau Ribbentrop Adolfina Merkelain first and foremost, plus her henchman Hollandier. Merkelain has been batting for the demented dwarf from Day 1, doing her best to prevent sanctions being imposed on Dwarfstan. Ditto for Hollandier and his predecessor Sarkozy.

            I have strongly suspected Merkelain of being an FSB agent for several years- every decision of hers has been in Dwarfstan’s favour. Why? Does the dwarf know something about her DDR past that would destroy her politically if it became known in Germany? What IS known is that she was an agent for the Stasi, East Germany’s KGB, known as IM Erika (IM = Inofizieller Mitarbeiter, or Unofficial Employee). Both her own Stasi file and her father’s have been placed under embargo; why, if she has nothing to hide? Does the dwarf have copies? It’s by no means impossible given the close cooperation between the KGB and Stasi, and that the dwarf was stationed in the DDR as KGB agent.

          • Scradje

            Dagwood, I agree 100%. Kremlin asset Sarko sold Georgia down the river. What is it with those French? Whoever they vote for, whether Hollande, Sarko or Le Pen they get a kremloid. Putler was able to seize power in RuSSia because he was able to use his KGB knowledge about the Yeltsin family to pressure him out and push aside the chosen successor, Nemtsov. How much better for Russia and the world it would have been if Nemtsov had been able to take over instead of the minature chekist thug! No doubt Putler does have stuff on Merkel too, but she may even be a kremloid by choice!

          • Lana C

            The only response from Bush/Cheney was talk, nothing else.
            As far as the Budapest agreement I first became aware of it when a commentator mentioned it in the Kiev Post and w/o reading the agreement I brought it up in my own comments. Finally I read the agreement and no where it states that the US or UK have the duty to arm Ukraine with defensive weapons or fight for Ukraine. The US/UK did agree that they wouldn’t invade Ukraine, as did Russia-Russia lied as Russia did invade Ukraine. The agreement mentions use of nuclear weapons and even if those were used the agreement specifies that parties would sit down and talk. So, a weak agreement at best. I am assuming the agreement might have been weak since it was thought that Russia would like to join the real developed world and offer a better life for its people.
            I understand that the citizens or Ukraine might feel that what Obama has done is not enough but as much as I am pro-Ukraine, it doesn’t mean that the citizens of Ukraine are being fair and I haven’t heard the same criticism of Cameron. I remember Obama saying that the US doesn’t have any interests in Ukraine and the US is involved for humanitarian reasons. The US is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t. As far as sanctions go the only ones that can apply sanctions with more teeth are the ones that do a lot of business with Russia or depend on something from Russia, like gas. Dependence on Russian gas is a problem, but the way I think of it is, if putin cuts the gas he won’t get money. But putin is crazy enough that maybe he is willing to take this change as neither he, his family or friends will suffer from the lack of money but then again less money might mean he will have less to steal from the Russian people. Russia sanctioned food imports. I doubt that putin and his buddies are not eating imported food. The US also has to take in consideration that the sanctions they apply does not hurt their allies, I am assuming that some could. I will re-read the Budapest Pact. Thank you for the polite response.

          • Forgotten Ghost

            I couldn’t have said it better myself… I know this because I tried, and it wasn’t nearly as to the point as you were. I’m getting foggy in my old age, and I tend to ramble.

          • Lana C

            I am 62 so I am no spring chicken and I also ramble. It is usually, at least for me, to have a verbal discussion.

          • Scradje

            With the benefit of hindsight the BM looks very weak indeed. But at the time it perhaps looked substantive. Who was to know that Yeltsin was to be ousted by a chekist and his chosen successor, Boris Nemtsov, was to be replaced by his ouster, who would later order his (Boris’s) murder, having already murdered or exiled his other key opponents? Who would have believed it, except in the pages of a spy novel?
            Dubya should have dealt effectively and decisively with Putler when he invaded Georgia. Of course he didn’t and Ukraine was invaded as a consequence, which I believe was predicted by Sarah Palin.
            Obama should have immediately targeted Russia’s banking system and suspended commercial flights, as well as providing lethal aid. It is not too late to do that, better late than never.
            I don’t think Obama has been criticised that much by his electorate for his comparative lack of action over Ukraine and neither has Cameron. Cameron has of course provided extensive non-lethal aid, as well as Obama. The reason they escaped criticism is that RuSSia’s propaganda campaign has been more effective than has been admitted by the west. Aided by useful idiots in the press, the west went along with putler’s demonization of Sakhashvili and bought into the poisonous hatred and lies about ‘Kiev fascist junta’.

          • Lana C

            My understanding was that Yeltsin was grooming Nemtsov to
            take his place. Several months ago, I believe, it might have been you that explained to me why it didn’t happen.
            Russia might have been different today if Nemtsov had taken power. When Medvedeff was elected, young and looks
            like a good person, I thought that maybe he would do good for Russia, I was wrong.
            As far as targeting Russian banking system I don’t know
            enough about it to know whether it would be possible for Obama to do it by himself or would he need others to join in for this type of sanction to work. I do know that Obama did ask EU leaders to join him in sanctioning Gazprom Bank, VED and Bank Rossya. I
            think sanctions to really bite all countries should be on the same page. For instance, when Russia said that they will
            no longer buy beef or chicken (or both) from the US, Brazil jumped in. This is the way the world seems to work
            nowadays.
            Defensive arms were suggested by Obama, at one point, but
            Merkel intervened.
            The shirtless dwarf is crazy enough to use nuclear weapons. Obama did say that the USA should not have to
            do it alone nor be the policeman of the world and I don’t mean he said it only in relation to Ukraine. Had the GOP been
            in power I doubt that there would have been sanctions by the US against Russia. It is easy for them to claim that they would have done more than what Obama is doing.
            Palin, the one that knows Russia because she can see it from
            her backyard. She most likely cost McCain his presidency.
            Now with the daesh I just hope that some countries do not drop sanctions against Russia for Putin’s “cooperation” on daesh.
            The Russian propaganda and Russian troll army are something else. The reason I started subscribing to The Economist was because of the great debates between commentators. You should take a look at The Economist debates between commentators since Russia invaded Ukraine, Putin’s propagandists are out in full force. Of course, this doesn’t happen only in the Economist, Putin’s army of propagandists have taken over the internet.

          • Scradje

            It would have been possible to force RuSSia to change direction by suspending them form SWIFT, freezing RuSSian bank accounts in certain western cities, banning virtually all commercial flights in and out of RuSSia to Europe and North America and immediately providing lethal defensive aid. A strong leader could have achieved that without much difficulty, since the US has considerable financial clout in the world. Merkell and Hollande are Kremlin assets.
            My concern is that if the Dems win next year, whether Bernie or Killary, they will continue a similar policy to Obama, i.e. the bare minimum. In fact Bernie is starting to show signs that he might be a Putler appeaser. There are a few GOP candidates who might make a difference, such as Rubio. The only two who really know how to deal with Putler are John McCain and Allen West and neither are standing. Trump would be the biggest disaster though; he actually admires the minature chekist thug and seems willing to turn a blind eye to his murderous activities.
            Yes the Kremtrolls are everywhere, paid and voluntary. The former are no problem, since they know their stuff is just fabricated garbage. The latter are so stupid they actually believe kremkrap. Most of them belong to facist, white supremacist, anti-semitic parties. They are hate-spitting cockroaches who reflect very accurately the creatures they troll for.
            I agree that the Economist has had some decent articles on the Ukraine crisis. Euromaidan press and the Kyiv Post are very good too; they have original articles and also publish a compendium of articles culled from around the world that cover a wide range of angles. Ukraine Today is a fledgling satellite TV station that was formed to counter the poisonous hatred and lies of RT. It also has a website with live streaming and original articles. I recommend it to anyone who has sympathy with Ukraine’s plight.

          • Lana C

            The EU can’t even agree between themselves what to do so I don’t know if it would make much of a difference if someone else was president of the US. If anything needs approval from Congress we might as well forget about it, last time I checked their approval was either 6 or 10% and the republicans, I call them the party of no. I do remember that SWIFT was brought up at one point but I assume that in order to do it cooperation would be needed from EU. Banning flights was touched upon but nothing happened. Lethal defensive aid might have started a war as I am not sure the dwarf would back off, he did mention that Russia has nuclear weapons. A bit surprised at Merkel, not surprised by Hollande as France will be a friend only when they need something. McCain was respected even by Democrats but his bomb bomb bomb Iran and Palin didn’t do much for him. Ukraine has to get rid of the corruption left over from being under Russia’s boot which will take awhile as it can’t happen overnight. Foreign investment needs to come in. All will be a slow process.
            Rubio did well on one of the debates but I don’t remember him touching on Ukraine. Hillary might be more aggressive but in the end the Americans that bother to go out and vote will vote either for their party or the one that they consider the better of the two.
            The world is so intermingled financially now that I don’t think it is very easy to do something just by yourself.

          • Vlad Pufagtinenko

            Excellent summation of what’s going on Lana. I appreciate your input and your immeasurable patience with these Putin trolls

          • Lana C

            Thanks for the compliment but Scradje is pro-Ukraine.

          • Vlad Pufagtinenko

            Don’t tell me I had another friendly fire incident….I’m up to 5. Apologies to him

          • Lana C

            I am sure he will understand.

          • Scradje

            Hi Lana. Rubio has sime pretty firm ideas here; I hope he gets the chance to implement them:

            https://marcorubio.com/issues-2/marco-rubio-russia-policy-position/

          • Lana C

            Scradje since I mentioned that I didn’t hear Rubio touching on Ukraine I went on his site yesterday.

  • Forgotten Ghost

    After spending some time looking at the various Russian media sites and the “truther” sites that repeat Moscow’s approved narrative, I can’t help but wonder whether or not Putin has lost his mojo. He was able to manipulate some of the world’s opinion with A321 and Bataclan despite the evidence looking a bit fishy for many. In the official statements made by Putin about this jet however, he seems to be out of his depth. There is no confidence in his words, and Russia already reported that it was ground forces that downed this plane. After Turkey stated that they downed it with F-16s[oops], Moscow switches over to that, confirming it. We already had the drone incident, and two previous incursions by Russian pilots. We already know that IS has little presence (if any) in that area, even Syrian news reported that the area was largely safe due to the “assistance” of Russian jets. If that was a liberated zone, why were there Russian ground attack jets so close to the Turkish border? This is one incident that I don’t think the Moscow method of “deny/stay quiet/confirm when convenient” is going to win them anything. Either they admit they were not doing what they have been claiming, or the truth comes out despite them. Both cases will result in loss of face for Putin, which is a good thing for Armenia, Crimea, Georgia and Ukraine.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The costs for the demented dwarf’s excursion to Syria are starting to increase. Apart from the Su-24, an Mi-8 rescue helicopter was shot down by ground fire, one of its crew being killed. One of the aircrew of the Su-24 has been rescued, the death of the other has been confirmed according to medusa.io.
      Two soldiers killed, two aircraft lost. They won’t be the last.

      Whether there’s a change of Turkish policy remains to be seen. But the Turks have repeatedly warned Dwarfstan that violations of Turkish airspace would not be tolerated. As my old headmaster said to me when I got whopped, “You have been warned, my boy, and you will be warned no more.”
      Ankara has already been pissed off with Dwarfstan for some time because of the dwarf’s persecution of the Crimean Tatars, whom the Turks regard as ethnic and religious brothers and sisters. To replace the failed Southstream project the dwarf has been campaigning for Turkstream, a connection to the Turkish gas system and connection to Europe. So far Ankara has refused to bite, and why should it? Like Peking, Ankara can afford to wait as the dwarf runs out of $$$$ and becomes more and more desperate, and IF it cements a deal do so at Ankara’s leisure and on Ankara’s terms- NOT the dwarf’s. Furthermore, Ankara can pick and choose as there are more suppliers of gas willing to do business. I’d say that here, too, the dwarf holds a weak hand and Ankara has all the aces.