Erdogan’s Desperate Move To Save His Terrorist Pals

What happened. Turkey claims the Russian plane crossed into Turkish airspace and failed to respond to repeated warnings. Russia claims it can prove its plane was over Syria the whole time. We will see if one version or the other will be generally accepted or whether a contentious muddle will continue indefinitely (cf. MH-17). However, even if the Turkish version prevails, the Russian plane at most would have been over Turkey for a well under a minute and presented no threat to anything or anyone inside Turkey. As stated by Valeriy Burkov, a Russian military pilot and recipient of the Hero of Russia medal: “It’s clear that this was a premeditated action, they were prepared and just waited for a Russian plane to show up. It wasn’t downed because of pilot error, or because he was trigger-happy or whatever. This is preplanned, premeditated action.” That assessment is likely true even if the aircraft passed momentarily into Turkey.

Motives: While the facts of the incident are murky, the motives on the part of Turkey – and specifically, of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – are not. They include:

Derailing any possibility of Russia-West accord on Syria and common action against ISIS: This is Erdogan’s top goal. Since the Paris attacks, there has been a huge growth in Western opinion favoring cooperation with Russia on crushing a common enemy: ISIS. While the fate of Assad remains a sticking point, public opinion, media, and even officials of western governments, especially in Europe, increasingly see the need to worry about ISIS first, Assad later – if at all.

Saving ISIS and comparable jihad terror groups: There can now be no doubt that in the confrontation between ISIS, al-Nusra (al-Qaeda), Ahrar ash-Sham, the “Army of Conquest” and the rest of the jihad menagerie against the civilized world, Erdogan and Turkey are on the side of the former. The canard that Russia is not hurting ISIS, already punctured by the downing of the St. Petersburg airliner in the Sanai, can now be laid to rest. ISIS and Turkey’s other proxies are in danger, and cooperation between Russia and the West could seal their fate. In particular, Turkey needs to keep control of part of its border with Syria to maintain ISIS’s lifeline for oil exports and for the traffic of terrorists in and out of Syria.

Cash cow. ISIS’s oil exports depend on access to Turkey, reaping millions for Turkish middlemen. Whether or how Erdogan’s AK Party and cronies may profit from this trade is not clear, but it would be naïve to rule it out. At the recent G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, Russian President Vladimir Putin embarrassed Western leaders – and in particular his host, Erdogan – by presenting undeniable proof of how ISIS funds itself through oil exports via Turkey. It was only after this that the U.S. joined in strikes against ISIS oil tanker trucks, something that presumably American intelligence had been aware of already. (Reportedly the US, unlike Russia, has given ISIS truck convoys 45 minutes’ notice prior to striking them – certainly more consideration than the Su-24 was afforded.)

Turkish ground presence in Syria. The Su-24’s two-man crew parachuted down into an area controlled by Turkmen militia, which fired on them with small arms as they descended. Their fate is not reliably known. [Russian and Syrian commandos later recovered surviving Capt. Konstantin Murakhtin. He said there were no warnings from Turkey.] The Turkmen militia, who cooperate with al-Nusra and other jihad groups against the Syrian government and Kurdish militias – both enemies of ISIS – are an essential asset of Ankara’s in keeping control of the portion of the border abutting Turkey’s Hatay Province. They are controlled by embedded Turkish intelligence officers. The firing on the parachuting Russian crew, irrefutably recorded on video, is a war crime, for which the Turkish government bears command responsibility and criminal accountability. (One online comment on a video of a “militia” commander claiming “credit” for shooting at the Russians asserts that from his accent he is identifiable as a Turk, presumably an intelligence officer, not a local Syrian Turkman. I am unable to confirm this claim.) [In a further aggravating development, a Russian marine was reported killed when “moderate” Free Syrian Army terrorists shot down a Russian rescue helicopter with a U.S.-supplied TOW missile.]

Western reactions: Mixed. Some media have taken evident glee in the downing of the Russian plane, as stated in one headline: “The Russians had it coming.” In his Washington meeting today with French President François Hollande, US President Barack Obama seemingly accepted the Turkish version of events and justified the shootdown, stating that “Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its airspace.” (One wonders if “any country” includes Syria, whose airspace is violated daily by US, French, and other countries’ aircraft striking targets without permission from Damascus in support of jihadists seeking to overthrow that country’s government.) At an emergency NATO meeting, some skepticism was expressed about Turkey’s action: “Diplomats present at the meeting told Reuters that while none of the 28 NATO envoys defended Russia’s actions, many expressed concern that Turkey did not escort the Russian warplane out of its airspace.” The NATO governments are no doubt aware of Turkey’s past provocations against Syria, well before the advent of the Russian air campaign, staging border incidents seeking to trigger a Syrian response that could be depicted as an “attack on Turkey” justifying an Article 5 response. [One American military expert concludes the Turkish claim does not hold up and is a clear attempt to “NATO-ize” the conflict. Democrat-GOP establishment “Hillary Christie” may finally get the NATO-Russia clash they crave.]

Russian response: Putin made a harsh statement at Sochi prior to a meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan: “Today’s loss is linked to a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists. Today’s tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations.” Some form of retaliation is widely expected. Among the options are energy supply and tourism. Turkey is heavily dependent on Russian gas, but withholding it would hurt Russia financially as well and damage Russia’s reputation as a reliable supplier. Already, there has been some indication that Russians will curtail vacations in Turkey (a popular beach destination, both for price and because Russians don’t need a visa) and of tour companies dropping Turkish vacations packages. Ironically, tourism retaliation primarily will hurt people in Turkish coastal areas, which are generally more secular and Europeanized than central Anatolia – in short, those disadvantaged would be disproportionately Erdogan opponents, not supporters. Possible military responses include directing intensive airstrikes on Turkmen militia positions [which appear s already to have begun], with the aim of killing Turkish intelligence personnel; and stepping up supply to and cooperation with Kurdish forces. The latter would be a deft move, given the popularity of the Kurds in the US

Jim Jatras, a former US diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership, currently is the only announced prospect for the Republican vice presidential nomination.

  • wootendw

    Most people in the West will accept Turkey's version over Russia's regardless of who was in the right. Putin is well versed in international diplomacy and not overreact to a provocation as was likely intended. There is no need yet to worry about (nuclear) war.

    However, what is indisputable here is the fact that 'Free' Syrian Army elements shot parachuting pilots and took out a rescue helicopter. This barbarity is inexcusable and has given Russia the right to attack FSA targets as they have been doing to known ISIS targets. This action has already commenced. Any protestations by Western leaders will be ignored by Russians and even by average Americans.

    • Longfisher

      I'm in the west. I don 't accept Turkey's version. It was an ambush with geopolitical objectives.

      LF

      • wootendw

        "I'm in the west. I don 't accept Turkey's version."

        That's because you have a brain. Bubus (un)Americanus, generally, does not.

    • Sam Dean

      Turkey committed an unprovoked aggression against Russia a country invited by the UN recognized government of Syria to assist in fighting the terrorist gangs ricking havoc all over that country. However, Turkey a third world country with limited means of defense will pay a steep price for that reckless act. Ordegan is a semi illiterate loudmouth who came to power by fraudulent means will be regretting his foolish act, but by then Turkey will be marginalized to basket-case state with nowhere to run.

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  • I have said it before and I will say it again, a Russian-Kurdish collaboration is the key to shutting down the American-Jihadist conspiracy against Assad's Syria. The US has been stringing the Kurds along for decades while aiding Turkey's slow burning genocide against them. I think the Kurds would welcome a more reliable allie, especially the PKK. The Kurdistan Workers Party and there comrades in the YPG are not even seeking full independence anymore. Just the same kind of federalized autonomy Russia has afforded republics like Chechnya for generations.

    If Russia throws it's full support behind the Kurds via airstrikes, heavy artillery and the kind of heavy metal denied them by there double dealing Yankee callers, they can seal the border with Turkey, surrounding the jihadists and bringing a long manipulated US allie into Moscow's orbit.

    An empowered Kurdistan will also prove to be the ultimate revenge on Ankara, creating a Kurdish wall separating Turkey from Asia and sabotaging any hope for a second Ottoman Empire. This has long been Turkeys worst fear. I say we make it happen.

    • Michael Kenny

      If Putin is fool enough to bog himself down in the Kurdish conflict, so much the better. His problem would be that he would be aiding an insurgency in the territory of a NATO member. That would inevitably bring him into conflict with Turkey and would certainly be sufficient to trigger Article V of the NATO Treaty. Since Putin has now capiulated to Turkey, he will probably avoid any provocation of that country in the future.

      • rossvassilev

        Michael, I think all that cum you have been swallowing has seeped into your brain.

      • John Kassabian

        You are correct that it is extremely risky. However from the Russian standpoint, they would consider it tit for tat. As we the US sent in arms to over thorough Assad, a long term Ally. We also crossed a "Russian Red Line" when we orchestrated a Cope in the Ukraine. Add to that the expanding NATO against Bush and James Baker's promise to Gorbachev. Americans over look this history. So from their stand point whether you agree to it or not, they feel that we have been gunning for them. Or at least the Neo Cons have.

      • Wake up Michael! Russia is already in conflict with Turkey or rather vise versa.

        Turkey is a feral beehive of terrorism, as is NATO for that matter, destabilization is a valid tactic under the circumstances and the Kurds have every right to a homeland after the unspeakable horrors the Turks have put them through.

        I fail to see the downside.

      • sam pozner

        Nato will not get involved. Did NATO get involved when France got hit? France is a NATO country no?Nato is only a Goverment program. And it would be a less than stupid to get involved in war on the side of Turkey, a more and more islamist country. On the other hand never underestimate the stupidity of our leaders.

        • Hate to burst your bubble bro but NATO's been dick deep in this sh*t from the drop. They didn't do anything about the France hit because that would involve shutting down there boys in ISIS before they finished off Assad.

          Russia however has been at the top of there sh*tlist for… well, basically forever. NATO was founded to contain Russia and that hasn't changed since the fall of the USSR. Neither has the stupidity of our leaders which is why we're currently cruising head first into a second Cuban Missile Crisis.

          Buckle up, Sam! Sh*t just gets more stupid from here.

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  • Johnny in Wi.

    Great reporting. Thanks!

  • anytime

    America use these same words when their Zionist entity murder Palestinians/Syrians with their up to date military equiptment

  • george archers

    Sad not one cautious word about evil France's sinister motive, in siding with Russia. Paris killings were all a set-up, for a Trogan Horse trap . Putin has just lost in his chess game King and Queen.
    How many of you caught on that most of Canada's planes in Syria and Iraq are being flown by British Airman?? French are another untrustworthy. scoundrels

    • Michael Kenny

      Putin in fact lost his chess game when the Ukrainian army bogged him down in the Donetsk/Lugansk "sausage" but getting bogged down is Syria, as he now is, certainly carries that process closer to Putin's eventual downfall. But "British airmen"? Why would the RCAF borrow pilots from the RAF? Have they not enough of their own? Anyway, they don't even fly the same type of plane, so British pilots would have to be trained to fly the RCAF's planes. I don't see what the French have to do with it, but the same remarks would apply to French air force pilots if the RCAF wanted to borrow them.

    • George, you and Michael Kenny should go bowling. You both obviously spend the lion share of your time up your own ass.

      BTW- It's TROJAN HORSE, you silly wanker.

  • Michael Kenny

    All this is just the usual "let Putin win" propaganda.The author adds nothing to what has already been said. That, in itself, underlines the fear of the pro-Putin camp in the US, not even so much at the prospect of a war with NATO, which won't happen unless Putin escalates the conflict, but of the domestic political consequences for Putin if he capitulates (which he now has).

  • rosemerry

    “Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its airspace.”

    Obama sings this little tune whenever Israel's murders get any tiny blowback from desperate Palestinians. Russia claims it was in Syrian airspace, the men landed in Syria, and nobody has mentioned that in 2012 Turkey unilaterally moved the border 8km south.

  • Hawaii bob

    Aloha, listen this whole mess comes under the Murder 4 PROFIT agenda, the ‘winners’ here r the bankers who lend $ 2 both sides among other things, munitions manufacturers etc, the herd has 2 pay the price by dying, getting mutilated & FUCKED by their 1% lackeys in DC here in the US The corp SLIME just keeps taking in BILLIONS upon BILLIONS w NO RISK, ONLY REWARD the ‘leaders’ worldwide bow 2 the corp SLIME & make TONS of $ doing so & stay in power because of this Cant properly cover the issues here but $ is the root of ALL this BS hb

  • kinggeor

    To add some light on what's happening in the Turkmen Mountain area where the pilot was shot down and as some had indicated this was all pre-planned to be in position to film and capture the pilots. This also implicates the US through Gladio as well.

    The Syrian rebels waiting on the ground to kill Russian pilots were commanded by a Turkish citizen from "Grey Wolves" a Turkish neo fascist organization. Video holding the remains of the Russian pilot’s parachute. They’ve (Grey Wolves) participated in political violence as part of the international anti-communism system 'Gladio'. In the past, they were implicated in hundreds of murders of ethnic minorities, as well as several major assassinations and acts of terrorism, including an attempt to kill Pope John Paul II, and a couple hundred of them also came to Russia to fight on the side of the Chechen terrorists.

  • However, what is indisputable here is the fact that 'Free' Syrian Army elements shot parachuting pilots and took out a rescue helicopter. This barbarity is inexcusable and has given Russia the right to attack FSA targets as they have been doing to known ISIS targets. This action has already commenced. Any protestations by Western leaders will be ignored by Russians and even by average Americans.

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