Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Russia vs Turkey – part 2

28 November 2015


Only 1 day after the fatal shooting of a Russian fighter jet by the Turkish military, Russia’s foreign minister has claimed Turkey’s shooting down of one of its jets was a “planned provocation” and “deliberate act” (source). That same day Turkish Prime Minister revealed that he personally gave the order to down the Russian Su-24 fighter jet that lead to the death of one pilot: “Despite all the warnings, we had had to destroy the aircraft,” he told a meeting of his AK party. “The Turkish Armed Forces carried out orders given by me personally.” (source) Essentially, both stories overlap.

According to my mother, her father used to say: “As long as they talk, they don’t fight each other”. I had to think of that expression when I remembered the once rather popular abbreviation of NATO – No Action Talk Only. Decades ago, this new abbreviation was meant to be condescending. However, today we see the Russian (eg, Crimea) and Turkish (eg, Cyprus) inverse of this saying – No Talk Action Only. Given the inverse, I now prefer NATO’s second abbreviation.

In response to questions from journalists, Russia’s foreign minister assured them that Russia is “not going to wage war on Turkey”, change its attitude to its ally or seek revenge against Turkey with economic sanctions or trade cuts. (Independent)

FT 26 Nov: “Russia targeted Turkey’s economy with a range of sanctions on Thursday in a bout of angry retaliation over the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet by the Turkish air force. [ ] All agricultural and food products imported from Turkey would now be subjected to laboratory checks. [] Turkish products, including meat and fruit, from shop shelves following health safety checks.

FT 26 Nov: Moscow also moved ahead on cutting tourism ties. The foreign ministry published a travel warning on its website which recommended that Russians refrain from visiting Turkey and those visiting now return home “due to the terrorist threats that persist on the territory of Turkey”. The head of the federal tourism agency told reporters that Turkey had received revenues of about $10bn a year from Russian inbound tourism. “It’s absolutely clear that Turkey won’t be earning this money any more,” he said.

Despite the clear statement by Russia’s foreign minister, economic sanctions and trade cuts are already being undertaken. Action speaks louder than words. So what’s next??

The only reason that (Christian) Russia is “not going to wage war on Turkey” is NATO as well as the impact this war would have on the former territories of the once vast (Muslim) Ottoman Empire. Russia cannot afford a war on too many fronts. Russia’s future military control over the Straits would be a far better military goal. A future deliberate preplanned provocation in the Straits (eg, sinking of Russian ship in the Bosporus by Turkish military) might be set up to get the UN’s approval for the removal of Turkish military control over the Straits.

I’ve read several arguments about why Turkey downed the Russian fighter jet but I am still looking for a convincing one. The merely intangible upside rewards seem tiny compared to the substantial tangible downside risk. If this decision was taken by rational people, what was their true aim???

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Quote by Sun Tzu

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes. And your smile is a thin disguise. I thought by now you’d realize. There ain’t no way to hide you lyin’ eyes. The Eagles

The Eagles – Lyin’ Eyes (1977) – artists, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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