“Jet scandal” and Erdogan’s restless ambitions

“Jet scandal” and Erdogan’s restless ambitions

Syria has stuck in Turkey’s throat, which spares no effort to wipe it off the regional map and make it share Libya’s fate.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement on the need to reform the UN over its failure to tackle the situation in Syria was shortly followed by certain moves. Bypassing the international law and any legislation whatsoever, Turkey reserved the right to down and search the planes of third countries heading for Syria. In addition, this is done openly, without any hints on potential danger for Ankara.

PanARMENIAN.Net - The stir over the Russian jet kept in Ankara airport for 5 hours to be searched on suspicion of armament and ammunition transportation has just faded away; now Turkey suspends the Armenian Air Armenia plane carrying humanitarian aid for the Armenian community in Syria. Actually, the rules were observed in this case: cargo transportation to Syria requires a permission to fly over Turkey’s airspace. The Air Armenia was granted this permission only on condition the plane must be downed in a Turkish airport for cargo search. The plane landed in Erzerum, and was further allowed to fly to Aleppo after a search.

Syria has stuck in Turkey’s throat, which spares no effort to wipe it off the regional map and make it share Libya’s fate: the name has remained, but there is no such country any more. Still, Syria is no Libya, and its importance for Ankara is quite significant in view of the latter’s neo-Ottomanism illusions. However, this nut is too hard for Erdogan to crack, even despite support of the U.S. and NATO. Nobody is going to join Erdogan in its potential attack against Damascus now, since the West is currently interested in Iran only.

Meanwhile, there are few willing to fight against Syria in Turkey, too. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) of Turkey says the PM is pushing the country to war. “Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing the country towards war claiming the lack of democracy in Syria. Does any of the Near Eastern countries have democracy? Do you think there is one in Turkey? The militaries, parliament members, journalists and students are arrested. Do you see any democracy here?” he said. It is worth noting that Turkey has always faced problems with democracy, and only the U.S. Secretary of State Clinton could consider Erdogan to be a democrat. By the way, during her summer African tour Hillary Clinton even said “Senegal is a democracy model”… So, everything is ok in Turkey; on October 4, the parliament granted to the government a one-year mandate for trans-frontier military operations, including those against Syria.

According to the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey closed its airspace for Syrian passenger planes in response to the earlier ban imposed by the Syrian side. ITAR-TASS agency quotes Davutoglu as saying that the Syrian ban on its airspace is of no importance for Turkish aviation.

As to earlier statements of Damascus on its readiness to launch an open dialogue with Ankara, Davutoglu declared: “It does not make any sense”. “Let Assad first find ways to start a dialogue with his own people,” he declared. Such care for the Syrian people voiced by quite poor foreign minister sounds rather ambiguous.

Even if Erdogan unleashes a war against Syria, it will not yield the desirable effect, despite all statements on the power of Turkish army. True, it is second largest NATO army in Europe, but the question is how strong it is? If we look at the settlement of the Kurdish issue, it should be stressed that a strong army cannot fight its own people since 1975. Creation of Great Kurdistan is not far off, and the potential war, if launched, will depress the rating of the Justice and Development Party, particularly with the first war toll reports.

All actions in the Near East are being delayed until November 6. Much, if not everything, depends on the next president of the U.S. If the U.S. decides on its moves on Iran, the Syrian issue will be actually settled. However, this is not likely to happen.

Karine Ter-Sahakian
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