Did Washington Just Tell Erdogan to 'Man Up'?
By Finian Cunningham
November 27, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - "RT"
- In the space of a few hours, Turkish President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan went from running scared to defiant belligerence
over the shooting down of the Russian fighter jet. It would
appear that someone had a stiff word in his ear.
Tough-talking Turkish President? No. More like
somebody’s message boy.
When the news
first broke on Tuesday that Turkish F-16s had downed a Russian
Su-24 bomber near the Syrian border, the Erdogan government in
Ankara immediately called for an emergency NATO summit.
Ankara rushed to explain that it was the party
that had incurred an act of aggression from Russia. Erdogan was
running scared because the facts were such that it was the Turks who
had actually carried out an act of aggression against Russia, not
the other way around.
And they knew it.
Suspiciously, Ankara did not contact Moscow about
the incident, which would have seemed a normal thing to do in the
aftermath of a serious incident in which a Russian aircrew was
forced to eject and one of the pilots was subsequently killed.
Recall that Turkey claimed that it did not know
the identity of the Russian warplane as it allegedly approached
Turkish airspace. So if, as it turned out, the Turks shot down a
Russian jet in a rapid encounter of uncertainty about its “national
security”, then why didn’t Ankara make subsequent attempts to
resolve the matter with the Russians as an urgent matter when the
circumstances soon became clear? That would have been the expected
behavior if the incident was simply an unfortunate, unforeseen
Again, the inference is that Ankara knew full well
that it was committing a sinister deed.
As noted, Ankara hastily conferred with NATO,
rather than Moscow. That act alone of running off to NATO suggests
that the Turks were well aware from the outset that they had carried
out something underhand against Russia, and they were hurriedly
seeking a line of protection from the US-led military alliance.
The day after the incident, Erdogan and his Prime
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu were seriously back-pedaling over the whole
incident. The Turkish version of the confrontation appeared to be
unraveling from a lack of credibility with several anomalies in
terms of the flight path of the Russian fighter jet. Even Western
sources were beginning to acknowledge that Moscow’s version of the
incident was correct in the details that the Russian jet did not
cross the Syrian border.
The unsettling conclusion beckoned: the Russian
jet was hit unlawfully by the Turks.
Erdogan was busily saying through Wednesday that
he did not want an escalation of the conflict between Turkey and
Russia. Davutoglu was even more craven, saying, in pleading tones,
that “Russia is a friend and a neighbor.” Ankara’s foreign
ministry sounded abject by almost begging for Moscow not to cut off
supplies of natural gas on which Turkey depends for 60 per cent of
its fuel consumption.
Then came a sudden, dramatic gear-change in
Ankara. On Thursday, Erdogan sounded a markedly different, more
belligerent tone, more in line with the initial event of the
shooting down. Maybe it was because Moscow had said that Russia was
not contemplating going to war with Turkey over the downed jet. But
Erdogan appeared to become emboldened in contrast to his sheepish
conduct over the preceding 24 hours.
The Turkish president said that his country would
not be offering an apology to Russia over the downed jet and the
loss of its pilot, as well as the death of a Russian marine soldier
killed by militants while trying to rescue the second airman where
the Su-24 bomber came down in northern Syria. Erdogan instead upped
the defiant rhetoric and implied that Russia should be the one to
offer an apology for its alleged infringement of Turkish territory,
even though the evidence points to the opposite.
Erdogan also spoke publicly on Thursday to rubbish
Russian accusations that Turkey is financing the Islamic State (IS)
and other jihadist groups through sales of crude oil. The Turkish
leader, moreover, claimed that Turkey’s “fight against IS is
indisputable” and he asserted that only the US-led military
coalition, which includes Ankara, is combating terror groups in
Syria. Russia and Iran are not waging a fight against the IS
network, claimed Erdogan, implying that they are merely propping up
their ally – the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
Erdogan told France 24 news channel that he tried
to phone Russian President Vladimir Putin about the downing of the
jet, but that Putin did not take his call. Earlier, Moscow had
bitterly remarked that it had not received any communication from
Ankara over the incident.
So what happened, whereby Erdogan and his ruling
clique appeared to go through a remarkable shift in attitude in the
space of a few hours? From pugnacious to pusillanimous and back to
pugnacious almost overnight.
Assuming that the shooting down was approved at
the highest level of the Ankara government in circumstances that
merit the description of an act of aggression or even war against
Russia, that was certainly a bold, recklessly daring move. However,
for the next 24 hours, Ankara appeared to have been overcome with
trepidation about what it has just done. But then Erdogan seemed to
acquire some backbone from somewhere by resuming a truculent
attitude towards Russia.
The erratic behavior points to Erdogan and his
cronies in Ankara not being in control of their own conduct. Of
course, we can only speculate at this stage. But let’s make the
reasonable conjecture that Ankara carried out the aerial ambush of
the Russian jet in a cold-blooded, premeditated way, as Russian
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.
Let’s also conjecture, reasonably, that the
deliberate act of aggression was carried out with the collusion of
the United States, which operates a NATO base in Turkey’s Hatay
Province adjacent to the Syrian border where the incident occurred.
It makes sense that Washington sanctioned the
aerial ambush knowing that the resulting geopolitical tension would
scupper moves elsewhere from French President Francois Hollande for
the formation of a broader anti-IS coalition to include the
participation of Russia.
Why the US is not serious about forming such a
coalition, indeed is implacably opposed to it, is because Islamic
State and other jihadist mercenaries are a covert creation of the US
and its NATO allies, including Turkey, for the objective of regime
change in Syria.
Thus, Erdogan’s Turkey carried out the dirty deed
against Russia under US authorization. But in the immediate
aftermath, Ankara evidently got cold feet about what it had just
done, no doubt fearing the wrath of Russia. That’s when Washington
got on to Erdogan and told him to grow some balls. Hence the
apparent turnaround feistiness out of Ankara in the space of 24
Which just goes to show that Erdogan, for all his
tough talk, is really nothing more than a pathetic, sniveling little
message boy for his boss in Washington.
Obama names Turkey’s Erdogan among top five
US president Barack Obama has listed Turkish prime minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan among the five world leaders who he has the closest
personal ties with.