04.12.2015 Author: Yuriy Zinin

Downing of SU-24: the View of the Arab Media

453454344“An unreasonably reckless act”, “Turkey is butting with the Russian bear”, “The high price of Turkey’s mistake.” Nowadays the Arab media is full of such and similar headlines in connection with the shooting down of the Russian bomber SU-24 in the Syrian sky.

Some authors took a neutral wait-and-see position; others, on the contrary, give unambiguous assessment of the escapade of the Turkish elite. Turkey decided to do something, that the NATO Alliance hadn’t dared to do for decades – shoot down a Russian plane in broad daylight, said Dr. M. Nuriddin , a Lebanese expert on Turkish affairs. Turkey is positioning itself as a direct participant in the internal conflict in Syria, it dominates on the northern border territories of the country after it pushed the local armed groups to dismantle the border points and expel the military personnel and employees from there.

These territories were turned into pockets beyond the control of Damascus, and the same order was established there as is practiced on the Turkish North Cyprus, Iraqi newspaper As- Sabah thinks. Therefore, when, as a result of strikes, groups of local Turkomen, financed and armed by Ankara, began to fall into pieces, it started out on the air provocation.

In the opinion of Arab experts, the motive behind it is Ankara’s revenge for the Russian air operations that cut off the oil channels via which smuggled oil flowed into Turkey. It is also an attempt to raise the seriously flagging spirits of those, fighting among the terrorists.

Others see this as the Turkish reaction to the last visit of the Russian President to Iran, which marked the strengthening of cooperation between two countries.

A number of analysts are considering how Erdogan’s stab in the back will affect the situation in the region, and the balance of power in the confrontation with terrorism. After the decision of the Russian Federation to allocate the ADMS S-400 in Syria, writes the Egyptian writer Khaled El-Shami, Turkey can say goodbye to its ambition to create a so-called security area in the border areas of Syria.

Nowadays, the closing of the borders between Turkey and Syria is just a matter of time, as it has become the focus of attention of all international and regional players.

The authors analyze the state of trade-economic, humanitarian and other cooperation between the Russian Federation and Turkey, stressing that Moscow has a lot of trump cards to play in order to influence Ankara. In case of reduced economic relations with Moscow, the Turkish economy will experience great difficulties and that will spur a crisis.

Turkey should not rely on NATO. Most of its members are European countries, which do not allow Ankara into the EU, and Turkey has been knocking at this door for decades. The mere inclusion of Turkey into NATO was due to the specific atmosphere of the Cold War; and according to the Arab analysts, NATO is currently not prepared to go all out for the sake of Turkey.

Clearly, as experts summarize, the further strengthening of cooperation between Moscow and Damascus will be the results of these events; it will indirectly lead to the fact that pro-Turkish groups inside Syria will undergo strong pressure.

According to the Editor-in-Chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper in London, the well-known publicist Abdel Bari Atwan, Erdogan began to realize that he has got himself into a risky venture and a dangerous game due to the shooting down of the Russian bomber. He found himself one on one with the Russians, all his allies remain silent, and the US and NATO only expressed verbal solidarity.

“The Turkish leader is retreating and he is looking for a ladder to descend from the top of the tree in which he found himself due to the Russian aircraft stunt.”

Responses to the incident in the social networks of the region are not falling on deaf ears either. There is a bitter debate about the assessment of the incident; Facebook is full of a variety of opinions.

Holders of dozens of accounts in Iraq express sorrow and condolences over the death of the Russian SU-24 pilot and call him “the Shahid, who fulfilled his duty and died for the rightful cause.” One of them in his posts in Twitter appealed to the Iraqi authorities to perpetuate the memory of the Russian hero.

Yuri Zinin, Leading Research Fellow at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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