Russia’s Quarrel With Turkey Is Distracting—and Dangerous

Date: 12-03-2015 | Category: Energy Security, Europe, Geopolitics, Mediterranean, Middle East, Russia and Eurasia

The National Interest December 3, 2015 By Ariel Cohen De-escalation is crucial in order to restore focus on the Syrian war itself. As the world’s leaders gathered for the COP 21 climate change summit in Paris, a more immediate and grave threat should have preoccupied their attention. Two regional powers, Russia and Turkey, have come to blows for the first time since the end of the Cold War. If not stopped, the conflict may careen out of control—and bury the efforts to defeat Islamic State/Daesh under the rubble. The chances of resolving the Syrian civil war would further diminish. There will be no winners. The Russian Fencer was bombing a Turkmen Sunni anti-Assad militia supplied and protected by Ankara. The plane crossed a portion of Turkish territory that protrudes into Syria. It was in Turkish airspace for mere seconds. For the first time since the war in Korea, a NATO member shot down a Russian aircraft.

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