Obama calls on Turkey to reduce tensions with Russia!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
America, increasingly facing threat to its super power status, badly exposed in Syria, says the ongoing Russo-Turkey standoff following the plane incident is weakening its effort to bring down Assad, even as Russia is focusing on NATO backed Syrian rebels, rather than ISIS.
It is not yet clear if Russian military operations in Syria are a part of larger strategy of USA and NATO. However, irrespective of outcomes of joint state terror attacks by USA, Russia and Europe, neither USA not Russia would lose anything since they are engaged in a nasty war in a third country –now Syria, committing genocides of Muslims as usual.
It appears the Al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS, etc are just the American tools of imperialism.
More and more western powers have joined the “Syrian fight” in an effort to destabilize it completely- whether President Assad is removed or not. In fact, taking full advantage of adamant posture of Assad Russia arrived in Syria, bombing and killing Syrians. Now it appears all European militaries would land up in that Arab nation to clean up that Arab nation the way they want. Syrians have got no choices at all lot since Assad is happy to see complete decadence of Syria if he is not allowed to continue as president forever.USA, Europe and Russia are exploiting the helplessness of Syrian people and the strange discord among Arab nations to defend the political freedoms of Arab nations. While the Arab nations, focusing only on oil trade and crony capitalism, are unable to make USA do justice for the besieged Palestinians, who remain tortured by Israel-Egypt terror twins through military blockades and economic tirades, their own position has become weakened as sovereign nations as they have to obey US-Israeli orders.
Russian entry into Syrian conflict has also strained its relations with Turkey as both exchange accusations over Turkish gunning down of a Russian war plane for air space violations. USA wants everything in Arab world taking place only as per its plan and does not want Russia to supersede its advantages in Syria and Mideast at large.
Meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on December 01 on the sidelines of the global climate talks in Paris, US President Barack Obama urged him to defuse the tension with Russia and focus on fighting against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), following Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian jet last week at the Syrian border, and called on Turkey to seal its Syrian border.
After downing the Russian jet on Nov. 24, tensions have run high between Turkey and Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident as a “stab in the back,” while the country announced a number of economic measures that they are to take against Turkey. Putin also accused Turkey of being an accomplice of ISIL and facilitating ISIL making money through the sale of oil at its border.
Obama met Erdoğan in Paris a week after the Turkish military shot down a Russian Su-24 due to an airspace violation at Turkey’s Syrian border. The US president urged both Turkey and Russia to “de-escalate” their conflict and not get distracted from the campaign against ISIL. He also appeared to be supporting Turkey, saying that it is Turkey’s right to protect its borders and airspace and expressed the commitment of the US to “Turkey’s security and its sovereignty.” “We all have now a common enemy. That is ISIL,” said Obama, adding that he wants to make sure all parties focus on that threat.
After his meeting with Erdoğan, Obama said there has been some progress in sealing the border between Turkey and Syria but that there are still some “gaps” exploited by ISIL to bring in foreign fighters and sell oil. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter also named Turkey as one of the countries that needed to do more in the fight against ISIL, including tightening control of its border with Syria.
” Turkey must do more to control its often porous border,” Carter told a congressional panel on Tuesday, noting that Saudi Arabia and Gulf states had been “preoccupied by the conflict in Yemen.”
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu accused Russia of trying to “cover up” its infringement of Turkey’s airspace with “unfounded” claims that Turkey is illegally importing oil from ISIL. Erdoğan has said he is prepared to step down if Russia can prove the claims and has urged Putin to do the same if he cannot prove them. “It is not possible to cover up the violation of the Turkish airspace with unfounded accusations against Turkey,” Davutoglu said. Davutoglu also said Russia is turning the Syrian crisis into a “crisis between Russia and Turkey.”
Russia is also under pressure by the USA to focus its airstrikes against ISIL, rather than the US-backed Syrian opposition groups fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia entered into Syria in September and bolstered its military presence in the country first, then started to pound the Syrian opposition forces in an attempt to help Assad. However, Russia says that it is going after terrorists.
Putin has demanded an apology and reimbursement for the damages, but both Erdoğan and Davutoglu have stressed that Turkey will not apologize for defending its airspace. Erdoğan insisted that it is Russia that needs to apologize to Turkey for violating its airspace. Russia denies that it intruded on Turkish airspace, but NATO and the US back Turkey, saying that there was a violation of airspace.
Although Erdoğan expressed his willingness to sit down with Putin to discuss the incident on the sidelines of the climate talks in Paris, Putin refused to meet with him. Speaking during an interview with France 24 TV channel last week, Erdoğan also said he called Putin after the incident but the Russian president never returned his call.
Sitting down with Erdoğan in Paris for roughly an hour, Obama said the USA was very interested in accelerating its military relationship with Turkey. He praised Turkey for accepting Syrian refugees who fled from the Syrian conflict. Although crediting Turkey for bolstering security at the Syrian border, Obama pointed out that there are still “gaps” and Turkey needs to fix those gaps in order to fight against ISIL.
Obama said it was possible over the coming months that Russia would undergo a “shift in calculations” and back away from its support for Assad. “I don’t expect that you’re going to see a 180-degree turn on their strategy over the next several weeks. They have invested for years now in keeping Assad in power. Their presence there is predicated on propping him up. That’s going to take some time for them to change how they think about the issue.” He also stressed that he expects the diplomatic negotiations in Vienna to pursue a political solution to Syria’s civil war will move forward at the same time that the US-led coalition applies greater pressure to defeat ISIL. Obama pointed out that the terrorist threat in the Middle East and the West would not be eliminated in the short term.
“ISIL is going to continue to be a deadly organization because of its social media, the resources it has and the networks of experienced fighters that it possesses. It’s going to continue to be a serious threat for some time to come,” he added.
In the meantime, changing his previous accusation of oil issue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Turkey shot down the Russian jet to prevent the efforts of a wider international coalition in the fight against ISIL. He called Turkish policies “provocative” and “two-faced.” Russia says it’s conducting preemptive strikes against ISIL militants but Turkey insists that there are no ISIL militants in the area. Referring to the Bayır-Bucak Turkmens, Erdoğan said: “They are Turkish descendants. That area is continuously bombed.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the AP that the downing of the Russian jet by Turkey has not only frayed what were previously warm ties between Russia and Turkey, but has also put a strain on the peace talks for Syria that are taking place in Vienna. Russia insists the Syrian peace talks cannot go ahead until all parties agree on which opposition groups should be covered by a possible cease-fire and which should be targeted by airstrikes. Moscow says it is now more determined than ever to get other parties to agree on a list of “terrorist” groups in Syria before the next round of talks. Zakharova said Russia had intelligence about Turkey buying oil from ISIL a while ago but preferred not to publicize it.
Speaking to the reporters after meeting with Obama, Erdoğan said Turkey also hopes to diffuse any tension with Russia. Stressing that a return to a “diplomatic language” would be “sufficient” to resolve the tensions with Russia, Erdoğan said, “We want peace to prevail at all costs.” “As coalition forces, we are determined to keep up the fight against ISIL and ISIL forces on the ground,” he said. Erdoğan pointed out that more than 500 civilians had been killed recently in the area where Bayır-Bucak Türkmens live in Syria, near the Turkish border.