Russian crisis: Honor and wisdom - ALI BAYRAMOĞLU

Russian crisis: Honor and wisdom

The Russian crisis is continuing with troubles.

Russians are taking steps to escalate the tension and corner Turkey from all quarters.

They follow a policy to introduce and show their powers and challenge.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to show the entire world that his reputation has not been ruined and “cannot be ruined."

He accused Turkey of cooperating with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He is calling the West to protect the Kurds; he says that the resolution in Syria is related to the relationship of Kurds in Turkey. He is narrowing all the areas of relationship and turning each of them into a new means of crisis.

From taking 10 Turkish businessmen into custody since they attended a fair with a “tourist" visa rather than a “business" visa, to leaving fresh fruits and vegetables to be spoiled at the borders and warning his citizens not to go to Turkey…

I also wrote yesterday that downing the Russian jet was an attempt that was politically wrong and a heavy price is needed to be paid. Despite the rules of engagement, as it happened before (Russians violated Turkish airspace several times in Syria) that day they could have been treated the same way.

It is unknown who ordered to shoot down the jet, or since nobody said, “do not shoot it down," did the pilot use initiative to down it or not.

I do not think at all that the “moment" of decision was formed with the request and approval of the political power at that moment.

I do not think that the players governing Turkey are pleased with the situation the country has been facing.

If time could be turned back, the incident would certainly have developed differently.

However, the things experienced, perhaps the atmosphere that resulted because of the Russian operations targeting the Turkmens, the messages that were given before regarding the violation of the border that has been a sensitive issue, the directions, the determination policy forced the government to defend and admit this action definitely without leaving any open doors.

The government not only emphasized technical legitimacy (rules of engagement and warnings), but also political legitimacy (the political justification of the act of downing the jet, and it would be repeated should the same situation occur).

In addition, Turkey used a gentle tone. The first day, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, “We are in the agony of facing such a situation." Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tried to keep in touch with the Russians.

But the Russians' escalating the tension, using a harsh tone, forced Erdoğan to respond to Putin. In an interview with CNN International, the president said Turkey would not apologize to Russia. “Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize."

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu began to take a tougher stance as the Russian salvos increased.

Now the question is not how the crisis emerged, but how it will end and what price will be paid.

How will this crisis be managed and resolved?

Being the target of Russian power policies can only harm Turkey.

This estranges us from the “pacific-reformist" policy targets to which we wish to return.

It prevents the economic leap which is desired. It takes the Kurdish issue, intertwined with the Middle East and the Syria issue, and replaces it inside the Middle East.

This can directly put especially Russia and Iran into play from this aspect.

This way, the resolution and politics can regress against order and threat perception. Russia's supporting the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People's Protection Units (YPG) more actively, pushing them to the west of the Euphrates, forcing Turkey to use weapons, declaring its political support to Qandil would not be impossible developments.

Turkey's honor, pride and self-confidence are of course very important. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and Erdoğan have been representing these in foreign policy for the vast majority of the public for a long time. The foreign policy of the AK Party is perceived as Turkey's being equal to the other powers by its own voters.

Those who govern Turkey should search and find political and rational ways to cope with a nuisance like Russia and to get rid of the risks and threats this nuisance can cause.

At this stage, emphasis on self-confidence and challenging political stance only harms the country.

Turkey is not challenging, but more than that is needed.

Yet despite Russian salvos, it has to be rational and pursue normalization.


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