Tensions between Russia and Turkey continue as Moscow appears to be working on provoking Ankara effectively. In line with this, the Russian Ministry of Defense issued a warning against Turkey about setting up a military incursion in Syria.
According to the ministry, Turkey appears to be preparing for an intervention in the conflicted region. Ankara is expected to support rebel forces fighting against the pro-regime troops in the northern region. To this, there are analysts who strongly believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin is also consequently trying to provoke Turkey to join the Syrian battlefield. The move was in part of Russia’s retaliation for its downed plane last November.
“Russia is trying to draw Turkey into a fight to avenge the downing of its jet. Putin is confident he can win,” al-Monitor quoted retired Brig. Gen. Naim Baburoglu, an adviser to the Ankara-based National Security and Foreign Policy Research Center.
“He also needs this to counter domestic difficulties. Downing one or two Turkish F-16s will make him a hero at home,” added the official. “It will also be a serious embarrassment to Turkey and the Turkish air force,” he said further.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refuted claims about the country’s troops advancing in the region. “We don’t want to fall into the same mistake in Syria as in Iraq,” Business Insider quoted Erdogan. “If … Turkey was present in Iraq, the country would have never have fallen into its current situation,” he said.
To add to that, The Guardian reports that tensions could further escalate should the Democratic Union party (PYD), the leading Kurdish political organization in north-eastern Syria, set up shop in Moscow. Turkey considers PYD as a terrorist group. However, Putin apparently thinks otherwise as he sent out a personal invitation to the organization. The move comes on top of the tensions in Syria and Moscow’s position against other coalitions fighting in the area like the United States. With this, analysts also think that Turkey will be pushed into a corner.