The international and diplomatic plan
Last week we dealt with the economic embargo put by Moscow to Ankara. Today we will handle the second and the third points of the Russian retaliation, which are closely related with the international issues.
On international and diplomatic plan, Russia started to isolate Turkey throughout the action of the President Putin, that of his Foreign affairs Minister, Mr. Sergey Lavrov, and with its ambassadors around the world.
Briefly, they talked how Turkey committed a mistake and refused to talk with Moscow, neither did an official apologize, but only accused Russia of air space violations and then hide itself behind the “NATO shield”.
The recent events once again proved that NATO membership is the defining item of Turkish foreign policy character. Turkey is a NATO-member country since ’50, but however Ankara has long sought alternatives to the West. It was not many years ago that Ankara was talking about membership of the Shanghai Five. Today, ironically, Ankara’s only guaranteed ally is NATO. No Muslim country or the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has yet said a positive word in favor of Turkey about its tension with Russia. It is clear: Without NATO, Turkey would be alone.
But, why the NATO refused an open and clear support to Turkey? Maybe because the sudden changing of direction into Obama’s administration.
John Kerry, US Secretary of State, aligned himself with a Russian plan to keep Mr. Assad in power indefinitely. The US has conceded publicly that the Syrian leader can stay “for now”, and it’s clear also that they have used considerable pressure to compel their allies to go along with the Munich agreement.
So in this way, the NATO would have been completely alone, without the Western States support, facing the Russians pressures against Turkey.
In this sense, following the Russian violation, the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg only called on Russia “to act responsibly and to fully respect NATO airspace” but also urged for calm and a de-escalation of tensions between Moscow and Ankara; just political words from a military organization.
Vladimir Putin’s decision to increase military support to Bashar al‑Assad has encouraged Damascus to believe it can now win the war outright. Doubtless, this is one reason why the Russians have sought to broker a ceasefire at security talks in Munich, in order to consolidate the regime’s gains.
This mix of western indecision and Russian strength could be the fatal mix of a dangerous future.