Tensions between Turkey and Russia continue to escalate as both countries maintain their sides of story over military concerns. Turkey’s repeated warnings to Russia now raise concerns of a military confrontation in the future. On top of its tensions with Ankara, Moscow is also under spotlight recently for saying that hard-line Islamic groups should have a participation in UN negotiations.
Turkey has accused Russia once again of violating its airspace. Although there were no planes shot down, this reignited concerns on whether Ankara is risking a military confrontation with Moscow. The matter has already concerned investors and strained relations between the two countries.
Turkey issued a statement previously saying that the Russian warplane was warned multiple times to no avail. Russia denied the claims.
“Russia can’t cover up the airspace violation,” Bloomberg quoted Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. “We are warning Russia once again that damage it is inflicting on moderate Syrian opposition elements and its threatening stance toward Turkish airspace are not in its favor. All necessary measures have been taken along our borders,” the prime minister declared. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement: “Before the violation actually took place, the Russian plane was warned numerous times by Turkish air radar units both in English and Russian.”
NATO has expressed support in favor of Turkey. Turkey is not the only country at odds with Russia now. The United Kingdom and United States have called out Moscow on its airstrikes in Syria as well. Opposition figures also have something to say about Russia and its Syria campaign. “We need the international community to intervene with Russia to stop its indiscriminate bombings,” Times of Israel quoted opposition figure Farah Atassi.
The situation in Syria is ripe with tensions among the participating countries. The U.S. and Russia relations had been worse since the Ukraine crisis erupted not to mention that they are old time foes since the Cold War era.
The two nations had been avoiding direct confrontation but the minute Russia joined the fight against ISIS in support of president Bashar al-Assad, miscalculations are imminent. With Russia pulverizing all terrorist organizations fighting Mr. Assad (including Pentagon-trained Syria oppositions), the situation in Syria is tantamount in saying that Russia and U.S. are the ones pitted against each other in the region.
The Pentagon had been training Syrian oppositions that constitute the New Syrian Forces fighting the Assad regime. And if Russia is targeting groups fighting against President al-Assad, then the situation is tantamount to Russia and U.S. conducting strikes against each other. U.S. has the responsibility to protect the Pentagon-trained Syrian opposition.
Russia is vocal of its support for President al-Assad. To make matters worse, Turkey, a strong US and NATO ally, downed a Russian bomber in November. Turkey is also conducting airstrikes against the ISIS in support of the US-led coalition. Everyone however claims that their fights are targeted against the ISIS.