How Russia Should Respond to Erdoğan’s Hate-Mongering?

Joshua Tartakovsky, 5 December 2015 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is one who thrives from exploiting ethnic and religious tensions. For him, the more commotion and incitement, the better. Following the brutal bombing of Kurdish and Turkish protesters in Ankara, a bombing that took place with the police absent from the area and with many indications of the Deep State’s involvement, Erdoğan blamed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK is a Kurdish militant group in Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey, with an anti-centralized state ideology that has been fighting for independence since 1984.  Why would a Kurdish militant group blow up fellow Kurds who share the same desire for independence? But the Turkish masses seemed to believe him. Erdoğan sees enemies everywhere, while the pro- Erdoğan media incites the impoverished public who see in him a hero, a resister and one of their own, wrongly persecuted and always innocent. Erdoğan’s Justice and development Party (AKP) gained power in 2002 after decades of neglect of the Muslim working class by the Turkish elite.  It is a popular, Islamist, pro-US party that seeks to overturn decades of secularism instilled since the founding of the secular republic. Turkey’s professed secularism ran contrary to the wishes of many of the poor living in villages and cities who could not find in the government or army a non-condescending official.  The military, the protector of Turkey’s secularism, did not intervene after AKP won. Erdoğan could finally pursue a process of Islamization of the country and a revival of neo- Ottomanism. Erdoğan’s Turkey feels that it has been oppressed for decades if not centuries. Now it is breaking free....
Russia Should Not Lose its Cool, as Turkey’s Action was Desperation, Not Strength

Russia Should Not Lose its Cool, as Turkey’s Action was Desperation, Not Strength

By Joshua Tartakovsky, 27 November 2015 In many ways, the Russians are more angered by the shooting down of the Russian military jet by Turkey than the bombing of the Russian civilian plane in Sinai by Da’esh. After all, Russians did not expect ISIL to like them, but they did expect fair behavior from Turkey. Russia generally regarded Turkey as a respectable partner, even when it strongly disagreed with its policies of openly support ISIL and buying its oil. Erdogan’s shooting down of a plane flying over Syrian skies has significantly angered Russia. Turkey argued it warned the jet in advance, 10 times in 5 minuets supposedly.  But if the plane flew over Turkish airspace, it did so for seventeen seconds. The surviving pilot denied receiving any warnings.  How did Turkey know in advance that the plane would enter its air space, therefore inevitably issuing warning minutes in advance, when the plane supposedly violated Turkish airspace for seconds? If a warning had indeed been issued, it is likely that the pilots would have known better and would have left at once, since Russia does not want a confrontation with Turkey to begin with but is focused on fighting Western-backed takfiris threatening a secular Syria. Even if Russia violated for several seconds Turkish airspace, Turkey has been violating Greece’s airspace many times. Considering the fact that Turkey has been also violating Syrian sovereignty by supporting ISIL in Syria via its supply lines, it is difficult to take seriously its claim that it shot down the plane following its entry into its airspace and the authenticity of the supposed audio tape...

Erdogan, Openly Supporting ISIS, Provokes Russia with Washington’s Approval

By Joshua Tartakovsky, November 25, 2015 Truth be told, ever since the Russian-Turkish agreement declared during the Putin-Erdogan meeting on the construction of the TurkStream, many wondered how long the relationship would last. It seemed that it could. After all, Erdogan may have his conflicting interests with Putin in Syria, with the latter openly supporting the Islamic State and the former supporting the secular republic of Syria and President Bashar al Assad. Still, one could have engaged in a wishful thinking of sorts, that conflicting interests in one region need not negatively affect cooperation in another region. However, the shooting down of the Russian military jet in Syrian skies by the Turkish army may complicate things. Russia is unlikely to go to war with Turkey, at least not now.  It knows better than to fall into provocations and responding to the shooting down of the jet will likely bring about the third world war, under NATO’s article 5. NATO has been actively preparing for a war against Russia quite openly recently. But it is still in a difficult position. Since by not responding, it sends the message that it is a nation whose planes can be toppled without an appropriate response. American readers, long accustomed to the demonization of Russia by the US media,  will not be too distraught by the occasional news headlines announcing that yet one more Russian plane has been downed. For some, Russians are less worthy of life and dignity than Europeans. At the same time, Russia punishing Turkey by military means is too dangerous to consider. Russia may therefore respond by announcing a boycott of Turkish...