Skip to comments.Turkey in Game of Chicken with Syria
Posted on 06/29/2012 4:03:08 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
Turkey-Syria relations have entered a new stage after Syrian forces shot down a Turkish F-4 fighter jet on June 22 in international waters over the Mediterranean Sea. Syria claimed that the Turkish jet violated Syrian airspace, but Turkey protested that its aircraft was in Syrian airspace for only a brief time and left after just two minutes. Thirteen minutes after the Turkish plane exited Syrian airspace, Syrias air defense forces shot down the jet. Its two pilots are still missing (TRT, June 24). Turkey considered the Syrian aggression to be an attack against Turkey and claimed that Syria has become a security risk for the region. In response to the incident, Ankara requested a meeting of the North Atlantic Alliances ambassadors in Brussels after invoking Article 4 of NATOs founding treaty, which entitles any member state to ask for consultations if it believes its security is threatened. At the consultation meeting, which was held on Tuesday, June 26, NATO members extended their support to Turkey and warned Syria not to ever again engage in such aggression. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: It is another example of the Syrian authorities disregard for international norms. NATO allies will remain seized of developments (hurriyetdailynews.com, June 26).
Turkish F-4 Phantom fighter jet
Turkey has outlined its action plan against Syria. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Turkey considers Syria a regional security risk and that, in response, Turkey was changing its military rules of engagement. Prime Minister Erdogan declared: Every military element approaching Turkey from the Syrian border and representing a security risk and danger will be assessed as a military threat and will be treated as a military target (hurriyet.com.tr, June 26).
Turkish experts believe that Erdogans statement suggests Ankara aims to build a de facto free zone inside Syria to protect Syrian oppositionists (Radikal, June 27). However it is unlikely that the Bashar al-Assad regime will allow Turkey to build such zone without military engagement with the Syrian Army.
Syrian President Assad told Iranian state television on Thursday that there is a difference between the policies Ankara endorses and the Turkish peoples view of Syria. Assad criticized Turkey: What we see now shows the stance of some Turkish officials but not all. He further said, The policies of the Turkish officials lead to the killing and bloodshed of the Syrian people. Assad noted he does not believe the crisis will result in military action in Syria, saying that what took place in Libya was not a solution to be copied because it took Libya from one situation into a much worse one. He added, We all now see how the Libyan people are paying the price (Todays Zman, June 29).
Meanwhile Turkish diplomats have been working hard to bring the international community together against Syria. A Turkish diplomat told Jamestown on June 27 that Turkey will respond to Syria on its own timetable. However, Ankara will definitely take some action against Damascus, within the limits of international law. Syrian aggression against Turkey will not be tolerated, the diplomat said.
Iranian diplomats, on the other hand, have urged Ankara and Damascus to show restraint. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi openly asked both sides to show calm and restraint and hopes that, with tact and tolerance and dialogue, this issue will be evaluated; and through a peaceful resolution, tranquility and stability will be preserved in the region (ANKA News Agency, June 24). Russia took a similar approach toward Turkey. The office of the Turkish Prime Minister revealed Erdogan had called Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the incident. According to Erdogans office, Putin expressed his deep sorrow over the incident during the talk. However, as Hurriyet Daily News pointed out, Moscow described the attack as unintentional and not provocative, obviously challenging Ankaras technical findings on the incident (hurriyetdailynews.com, June 28).
Meanwhile, according to Turkish press reports, the Turkish military has been deploying armed units on the Turkish-Syrian border. For instance, in Gaizantep province, Turkey has deployed units armed with Stinger surface-to-air missiles aimed toward Syria (milliyet.com.tr, June 29).
In response, Syria has also been positioning its military units on the Turkish border. According to a general from the Free Syrian Army, Assad deployed 170 tanks close to Turkish territory. It could be a challenge to Turkey as well as a signal of a planned operation inside Syria, the general said (milliyet.com.tr, June 29). As expected, the Syrian regime has been deploying its military on the border to avoid the creation of a free zone inside its territory by outside forces; such a zone would be a safe haven for the Syrian opposition.
As late as today (June 29), Prime Minister Erdogan once more highlighted Ankaras position on Syria: When it comes to protecting our border, we will turn into a flood to wash over our enemy (hurriyet.com.tr, June 29).
Despite Erdogans warmongering rhetoric, Turks do not want to engage in a war. According to an opinion poll carried out by ANAR, only five percent of Turks want to initiate a war with any other country, including Israel (Sabah, June 27).
As Turkish expert Sami Kohen argues, Turkeys strategy is based on a controlled tension to mount pressure on the Assad regime. Syria, on the other hand, expects mediators such as Russia and Iran to extend an apology and perhaps even some compensation to Ankara on behalf of Damascus. However, such an offer would not satisfy Turkey (Milliyet, June 29).
Thus, in the coming days, we should expect a game of chicken to play out on the Turkish-Syrian border. Whichever party loses its nerve first will also lose the game.
Just be sure they don’t slip on Greece!
They are Russian into war!
This is Syriaous!
It’s pretty certain Syria wouldn’t last a week in a toe-to-toe battle against Turkey; after all, them and all the Arabs barely made it six days against Israel. The problem is that Turkey will then have to reckon with their Persian Uncle.
we will turn into a flood to wash over our enemy
I really wish we westerners would use more descriptive
language like this.
“Our NEW Improved Army with Scrubbing Bubbles tm. will
scour the stain left by your invading hordes.”
American Lady soldiers kick ass, because they are
Daisy fresh all day and aren’t bothered by irritating
Thanks to our Presidents new Cafe standards our fighting
vehicles get 10 percent greater gas mileage with
25 percent less greenhouse gas.
No... the party that is on a 125cc 2 stroke motorbike will lose out to the Lincoln Continental Mark IV.
That's the way that story ends.
Who has what?
Turkey would like to take over Syria. It would be the first step in re-building the Ottoman Empire.
Turkey has morphed into an islamic terrorist state and should be kicked out of Nato.
Damascus to help out!
Turkey will stay in NATO (such as it is), but remain outside the EU (lucky bastards), serving as cork in the bottle (in both cases).
US help on the current crisis will be paltry, because Erdogan is (to borrow from the Austin Powers trilogy) not evil enough for Zero, *and* there are far more Greek-descent and Syrian-descent voters in the US than Turkish-descent.
Russia’s staked out its position (prop up the Assad dynasty, sell nuke tech to Iran, back Cyprus and Greece against Turkey, and invade former SSRs without apology), and Putin knows that Zero wears Pampers.
If Turkey and Iran were to come to blows, they’d be evenly matched, and the US and the rest of NATO would be carrying out mullahs’ heads on bayonets. Russia and China would bitch a little, and that’s it. That’s the scenario Zero is trying to appear to be avoiding. The Russians are actively working against that development.
This cook doesn't see that, but I don't have access to current data. I think Turkey has a 3:1 advantage with technology, personel, and doctrine.
Thanks JRF. My view is that Iran is underrated, and despite a large (perhaps majority) opposition in Iran to the mullahcracy, a war would change that, rapidly and temporarily — and that’s the mirror image of Turkey, where the regime has majority support, but might balk at a war against an Islamofascist state. The two nations are about the same in population, Turkey has a better economy, and neither one has reliable neighbors (mostly surrounded by rivals and enemies). Both have large ethnic minorities who may/will see war as an opportunity for uprising and secession. Iran would have to cope with US interdiction at sea, and would probably do something stupid in that context. The Chinese probably can’t move much materiel over the terrain, or fast enough, and the Russians would cut a deal or two rather than engage NATO, even by proxy.
Turkey has a professional military that isn't based on theocratic principles. They have been that way for a while. That military is the reason Turkey isn't a theocracy.
They are well (enough) trained, and have a vested interest in the status quo. That's more than a little important.
Turkey can also manufacture in a way that Iran can't. They do assemble F-16s over there in a joint-manufacturing agreement.
I'm just a cook and was only a TSgt, so my opinion doesn't count for much. But that's my honest thoughts.
Turkey over Iran 3:1.
Thanks again, all good points. I can barely use a microwave, btw. ;’)
In the late 1970s and early 1980s Iraq had a professional, well (enough) trained, and well-armed army, almost complete air supremacy, and total surprise. Iran was under embargo and couldn’t fly more than a couple of sorties, and after using up the Shah’s old inventory couldn’t supply ammo to its “troops” or artillery. And eight years later Iraq had to withdraw, having tried altered AAA guns to cope with overwhelming masses of infantry attacking small parts of Iraqi lines.
The mullahcracy has had over thirty years to reestablish Iran’s armed forces. Meanwhile in Erdogan’s Turkey the officers have been purged, investigated, purged again, demoted, and replaced with Islamicist amateurs.
I have a CCCP shoulder patch that was obtained under questionable circumstances, btw, one of two war trophies in my 'love me wall' from a war that was never fought.
Doctrine in training and arming and fighting are as important as just being armed and trained.
We shall see who does what when, and note it, and adjust our world-view as required.
That reminds me of the time decades ago that I made friends with some foreignors from South America (forget which country). They said they had no swear words in their land, the American concept of swearing was lost on them. However, elaborate insulting was an art form for them, of the "May a thousand fleas infest your armpits" variety, etc. I get tired of the mindless swearing by American youth nowadays, no creativity or thinking in that.
One of the failings of the Iraqi army under Saddam was centralized control — the air force and army used different frequencies to prevent coups from originating in a coordinated fashion in the armed forces. Iranians just had to understand the Farsi word for “charge!” ;’)
And it is all brought to the world by the man who pulled US troops out of Iraq.
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