Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 26
By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:
Russia violated International Law and took unfriendly military action against NATO's territory, Matthew Bryza, former US assistant secretary for South Caucasus and former US ambassador to Azerbaijan, told Trend Nov. 26.
Bryza, who is also the director of the Tallinn-based International Centre for Defense Studies, was commenting on the tension in Turkey-Russia relations following the incident with the Russian Su-24 warplane, shot down by the Turkish Air Force.
"Imagine if the situation was reversed and Turkish airplanes were bombing ethnic Russians, let's say, in Syria or somewhere very close to Russia's border with one of its neighbors," he said. "Russian would be extremely angry and would take serious measures."
"After all, Russian aircraft have violated Turkish space many times and received many warnings, but were not shot down," he said. "In this instance, the Turkish leadership had two choices: to allow another violation as Russian aircraft were bombing and killing ethnic Turks (or Turkomen) in Northern Syria or to take a step to show that Russia should stop these provocative actions."
Bryza said that on top of that, Russia has been playing this game of poking and trying to intimidate NATO countries in their airspace for over a year.
"These NATO countries that Russian airplane have been harassing include the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the Baltic States," he said. " So, it was only a matter of time before some Russian violation of air space would lead to the downing of a Russian airplane. I hope this incident will send a message to Russia that it needs to stop it dangerous provocations and harassment of NATO air space."
Bryza said that the economic measures the Russian Government is threatening to take are not radical.
"Russian GAZPROM needs the Turkish market and is fighting to maintain its hold in the Turkish market, as competition grows, especially with liquid natural gas that is going to be available from the United States, Australia, and East Africa," he said. "So, there will be no slow down in Russian natural gas export to Turkey."
"For example, there are calls by some top Russian officials to cut Turkish food imports, which had been compensating for the food imports from the European Union that the Russian Government cut off in response to EU sanctions regarding Ukraine," Bryza said.
"These Russian economic measures will hurt some Turkish exporters of food, or tourism operators," he said. "Some Turkish construction companies might lose some major contracts. But, at the same time, Russian citizens will suffer. And, it will not be difficult for Turkey to find other markets, to export its food."
Bryza believes that Russia and Turkey want to get pass this issue.
Russia-Turkey relations deteriorated after the incident with the Russian Su-24 warplane, shot down by the Turkish Air Force.
The armed conflict has been observed in Syria since March 2011. According to the UN, more than 220,000 people were killed. The governmental troops confront with the militants belonging to various armed groups. The fighters of Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra extremist groups are most active.
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