The Russian Planet asked experts if they allowed the Russian-Turkish conflict to turn into a military clash.
We know quite a lot about Turkey. AT historical memory remained the deceit of the sultans, the cruelty of the Janissaries and, of course, the victory of the Russian weapons. We remember how successfully Russian monarchs fought against the Ottoman Empire: Peter I, Anna Ivanovna, Catherine II, Alexander I, Alexander II, and finally, during World War I, Nikolai II.
In the last war, Russia was able to advance quite far and returned the native Armenian lands. But the revolution broke out in Russia and Turkey. Leon Trotsky concluded the disgraceful Brest peace, and the Caucasian front ceased to exist. The Soviet government returned to the new friends the Bolsheviks - the Kemal Ataturk party - all conquered by the blood of Russian soldiers and Armenian militia.
In 1921, an agreement of "friendship and fraternity" was signed between the government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and the government of the RSFSR. After World War II, Stalin tried to make territorial claims to Turkey and take away her former Armenian lands. The reason was the fact that Turkey violated neutrality, in fact, being an ally of Hitler. But here the USSR was late: Churchill had already delivered a speech in Fulton, a cold war began. Turkey, due to threats from the Kremlin, according to the current ideologues of Ankara, has urgently joined NATO. This reason for joining the alliance is questioned even in the West.
Under Brezhnev, a trade agreement was concluded, and the USSR began to build plants in Turkey quite energetically, but the country disappeared from the public consciousness of the Soviet people for decades. Turkey peaked out of oblivion into perestroika and in the most active way invaded the everyday life of Russians now. Initially, from there, "shuttles" began to bring fur coats, sheepskin coats, leather jackets, sports suits and everything that can be sold on the clothing market. A little later, but also suddenly and somehow imperceptibly, Turkey turned into an All-Russian health resort.
In recent years, Moscow and Ankara experienced, as it seemed, a “romantic period” in relations, until 24 in November the Turkish Air Force shot down our Su-24 over Syrian territory.
On 14 December, an unpleasant surprise awaited the listeners on the morning air of ЪFM radio listeners. Alexander Sotnichenko, associate professor of the Department of Theory and History of International Relations of St. Petersburg State University and a specialist in Turkey, categorically stated that “... relations can go all the way to armed conflict. Everything is going to this now. ” The threat of a military conflict has been spoken about before, but none of the experts spoke so clearly. And Sotnichenko is not the only one who seriously considers an armed conflict possible.
Arguments against war
As before, most observers consider a full-scale war impossible and a local armed clash unlikely. “Turkey and Russia are not ready for this or do not want it. Among other things, the purpose of the conflict is incomprehensible, for example, for Turkey. I think that the goal of Turkey, when she shot down the plane, was not to make war with Russia, but to prevent our operation in Syria as much as possible and to convince Russia or leave Syria, or at least not to touch Turkish interests in Syria. A full-scale war, in my opinion, is impossible, if only because Russia is a nuclear power, and the military potential of Turkey, firstly, is incomparable with the Russian one, and secondly, it is a member of NATO, which means the conflict will pull the inclusion of a collective mechanism security alliance. NATO is hardly anyone ready for this, no one needs it. This was demonstrated just at the moment when Turkey immediately after the incident with the plane turned to NATO for support. Support in general was limited by some verbal statements by Stoltenberg. And then many said that this was his personal opinion, that is, the reaction of NATO was rather restrained: it’s your bilateral affairs, and figure it out for yourself, ”argues political scientist Sergei Mikheev. The reaction of NATO is a clear signal that the alliance does not intend to “fit in” with the conflict with the Russian Federation because of Erdogan’s ambitions.
“I doubt very much that France, which has a confrontation with DAISH (organization banned in the Russian Federation), will start helping Turkey in terms of solidarity within NATO,” continues Dmitry Abzalov, president of the Center for Strategic Communications. - And, most likely, neither the UK nor Germany, which have already announced the dispatch of their servicemen, primarily the air force, to fight the terrorists, will do this. As a result, Turkey may find itself in rather serious military isolation, which, in turn, will lead to the erosion of the alliance as such. Why? Because in this case there is no guarantee, for example, for Poland, which can start active military operations, or Ukraine, which is entering there, or Georgia will not. The main task for which they are entering is protection. If protection is not provided, then what is the meaning of the block? Therefore, in the framework of radical actions, Turkey may face the opposite situation and in fact expose the entire alliance to erosion. These are additional risks, in which Washington, which is trying to mitigate the situation through negotiations with Secretary of State Kerry, is not interested either. If an armed confrontation begins, the NATO countries will immediately have to decide. There will be no local confrontation, there will be a confrontation of the block. The Russian Federation is a member of the CSTO in general. ”
Military aircraft "Tornado" British Air Force after an airstrike on the positions of the IG in Syria. Photo: Pavlos Vrionides / AP
“The armed conflict between Russia and Turkey, it must be clearly understood, will immediately turn into an armed conflict with NATO,” adds Konstantin Sivkov, first vice-president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems. - Therefore, it is not necessary to say that Turkey will go to a full-scale armed conflict with Russia. Local clashes are possible: by the type of incident with the Su-24, or ours will shoot down something. But a major confrontation with large casualties is unlikely. We are still a nuclear power, and Turkey does not want to be a suicide. ”
Arguments for the war
“If you asked this question two weeks ago, I would answer that I’m not considering such an opportunity,” said Abbas Juma, a Russian Arabist and journalist. - Today I will answer this way: I allow this opportunity. This is indicated primarily by the actions of Turkey. Let us recall the recent incident in the Aegean Sea when their seiner came close to our ship and we were forced to open warning fire. This is a hint that they will not stop in a "muscle demonstration" and will further provoke Russia to open fire at some fateful hour. Of course, this will not happen in the Aegean Sea, but, quite possibly, it will happen in Syria. We are transported there, because they "winked" at us there more than unequivocally. And in Syria, Turkey plans to create a buffer zone in the north of the country. Let me remind you: conversations about this zone were conducted even before the Turks attacked the Su-24. What is a buffer zone? And this, as it turned out, the transfer of 1,5 thousand tanks where Kurds live mainly, ostensibly to protect the local population from the "Islamic State". In fact, this is the same military expansion as in Iraq. In Iraq, this was done, firstly, to limit the influence of the Kurds, but this is a secondary task, and the primary goal is for Iraq to call Russia for help, and then there would be a skirmish there. All their actions are now aimed at provoking Russia to some actions that, quite possibly, will lead to an armed clash between Ankara and Moscow. ”
“We don’t want to fight with NATO, and Turkey, because it is a member of NATO, acts so boldly,” continues Abbas Juma. - Because, remember, as soon as the Su-24 was shot down, the first statement was not from the category “we will understand, we will conduct an investigation, let's not chop it off.” The first was a message: “Friends, do not forget, we are friends of NATO, and any attempt to do something against us will be an attempt to do something against NATO.” The same was heard from the mouth of our mustache "comrade". Yes, they do not need the European Union for a long time, Turkey is more or less financially self-sufficient. And Erdogan apparently developed megalomania and ambition for the restoration of the empire. Hence pan-Islamism and Pan-Turkism. A characteristic feature is the rise of the Gray Wolves and their active sponsorship by Ankara. You can see what the Gray Wolves profess, and you will understand what Erdogan wants. Ambitions - to restore the Ottoman Porto, the Ottoman Caliphate - eclipsed his eyes. But at the same time, NATO membership gives Turkey a certain “indulgence” on all actions, in particular against Russia. Erdogan and Davutoglu use the fact that now between us and the West there is a gulf of misunderstanding because of Syria, because of Ukraine. On this wave, Erdogan is trying to make a name for himself. And if you need to enter into an armed conflict with Russia in Syria, you can be sure Erdogan will not fail to seize the opportunity. The big problem is that the guy is absolutely out of control, even Americans understand that. Erdogan is an idiot, between us, not understanding that in reality death awaits him. ”
“The clash between Turkey and Russia suddenly suddenly became real. This is due to the fact that Turkey clearly made a bet on the change of power in Syria, despite the intervention of Russia and Iran in the conflict, and also in connection with the creation in Saudi Arabia of the so-called Sunni coalition against the "Islamic state", read it, " against Assad. " I doubt the reality of the coalition, nevertheless the Saudis declared that it is a military alliance and is ready to fight. In what form can this happen? As is known, the participation of the Russian military space forces in the operation in Syria is indeed one of the most important factors for the success of the Syrian army’s attack and various Hezbollah-like movements that support it, Iranian volunteers, etc. In the Turkish press now (before the incident with the aircraft, the participation of the Russian Federation in the operation in Syria was practically not discussed) Russia is simply enemy No. 1. And now two options are being considered, ”adds Sotnichenko.
Demonstration of Turkish nationalists in Istanbul. Photo: Ozan Kose / AFP
The first option, according to Alexander Sotnichenko, may be the following: “For Turkey, death is like the encirclement of the city of Halep, or Aleppo, which is now being conducted by Syrian troops. Because the supply of various groups in the region of weapons, medicines and everything else is interrupted. Therefore, it is now generally decided how much Turkey’s assistance to these groups will be increased. But this is not yet the intervention of the Turkish armed forces themselves. The second point: the fighting in Bair-Budzhak, a district near Hatay, on the border, where a Russian plane was shot down. It is Turkmen who are fighting there - the main "clients" of the Turks in the conflict. In general, most likely, the situation there is unlikely to evolve under the scenario of a direct collision, at least no one is knocking down Russian planes there, and they continue to actively bombard the positions of these very Turkmen militants. If in Turkey they really decide on serious actions, then a scenario of a tank shot at a Russian military base not far from Lattakia is being developed. But this, as everyone understands, is a real war, a real one. ”
“And a much more likely option is the active participation of Turkey in the division of Syria,” the expert continues. - So far, the Turkish position, like the positions of the West, and Saudi Arabia, is to prevent Russia, Iran and, strictly speaking, the Syrian leadership from retaining power over the entire territory of Syria. If Assad remains, then their plans have completely failed. Therefore, now they are actively preparing for the situation - for the possible division of Syria into spheres of influence along a confessional basis. So that, conditionally, Assad should leave the western areas, and the eastern areas to remain under the control of the Sunnis. This idea will probably embody the Saudi coalition. And the implementation of the plan will begin when the Syrian troops enter into direct armed conflict with the Islamic State, that is, they will launch an offensive against areas tightly controlled by the militants of the Islamic State. These are the neighborhoods of Raqqi, the very oil-bearing areas. Then the start of the offensive of the so-called coalition against the "Islamic State" on the other hand, apparently, from Turkey and Jordan, will be announced immediately. And here, too, certain problems and collisions are possible. ”
However, according to Alexander Sotnichenko, Erdogan can be hindered by a completely unexpected force: “Turkey’s involvement in a big conflict in the Middle East, as well as a serious economic crisis, to which Turkey is approaching due to breaking ties with Russia, may lead the military to military coup. Although you still need to imagine that the current military in Turkey is not the military who were there 10 years ago. The current government has done everything to disperse the most politically active. But it all depends on the depth of the crisis. The military clearly does not want to fight with Russia, like NATO. ”