Patriot Missile Dispute Reveals Russian Suspicions About Ankara
The Turkish request brought in its wake a vigorous Russian protest accusing Turkey and NATO of trying to militarize the border with Syria. The Netherlands and Germany, who have advanced versions of the missile, have indicated that they would supply the missiles to Turkey although their deployment would take weeks.
Aware of Russians sensitivities and suspicions that the missiles could provide the makings of a no-fly zone within Syrian territory that could be exploited by the anti-Assad insurgency to create a secure base of operations, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen claimed that this was not the intention. The deployment of missiles was a purely defensive measure that would help stabilize the border. Turkey has opened fire across the border on Syria in response to Syrian shelling.
Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, was not buying this explanation, given Turkey's prominent role in the drive to oust the government of Bashar al-Assad. The Russian spokesperson recommended that instead of the positioning the missiles, Turkey should pressure its Syrian insurgent clients to begin a dialogue with the Syrian government.
The missiles would not promote stability, as NATO argued but would destabilize the area. The Russian sensitivity reflects fears in Russia that Turkey is competing with Russia for influence in Central Asia and worse exploiting Muslim fundamentalism in Russia itself.
Writing in the Voice of Russia on November 9 Sergey Duz in an article entitled "Turkey Revives the Idea of the Ottoman Empire" argues that Turkey has given up on EU membership and is therefore intensifying its ties with NATO to promote its objectives . NATO is happy to use Turkey against Russia
Erdogan has actually united the country around a new imperial project. Turkey’s support of the Syrian opposition could be considered one of the first steps on the way to fulfilling this project. Generally speaking, Ankara’s strategy is based on consistent attempts to weaken other candidates for regional leadership. Many people find it morally and ethically doubtful.
On November 7 Russia Beyond the Headlines published an article by Aleksander Sotnichenko entitled "Time to Sound the Alarm in Russo-Turkish Relations" which argued that Ankara was threatening to destabilize Russia itself.
The relationship between Russia and Turkey is now extremely complicated. There are, on both sides, a large number of opponents to the strategic alliance between Ankara and Moscow. Within Turkey, this primarily involves radicals who are striving for the disintegration of the Russian Federation, and who gained a lot of popularity against the background of the Arab Spring. If their political influence continues to strengthen, it will have a catastrophic result on relations between the two countries.