ASIAdocument.write(“” + m[today.getMonth()+1]+ ” “+ today.getDate()+”, ” + theYear + ” “);HOMECHINAWORLDBUSINESSLIFESTYLECULTURETRAVELSPORTSOPINIONREGIONALFORUMNEWSPAPERChina Daily PDFChina Daily E-paperChina Daily Global PDFChina Daily Global E-paperOpinion / Op-Ed ContributorsEditorialsOp-EdColumnistsContributorsCartoonsSpecialsFrom the PressForum TrendsTalk from streetDebateEditors Pick:Syrian refugeescyberspaceV-Day paradeshrimp scandalTPPOnly joint global action can end IS menace: Former ambassadorBy Hua Liming (China Daily) Updated:2015-11-26 10:38Comments Print Mail Large Medium SmallTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu delivers a speech at Turkish Parliament in Ankara, Turkey, on Nov. 25, 2015. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday that Turkey does not aim to escalate tension with Russia. [Photo/Agencies]After Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near its border with Syria on Tuesday, observers are wondering the real reason behind the incident. While some analysts say it might be an accident, more tend to link it with Turkeys disputes with Russia.It is too early to reach a definitive conclusion, but the two countries have been at loggerheads since Russia started its air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria. Turkey wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to go. But by reportedly targeting the IS group and the rebel Syrian forces both, Russia, many believe, is protecting Assad.
And since Turkey has repeatedly alleged that Russia is violating its airspace and claims to have warned the Russian jet before shooting it down, one can say it is not an accident.
The incident has triggered a diplomatic storm, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling it “a stab in the back” and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying Turkey has the right and duty to “take measures against anybody who violates (its) borders”. Also, since Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan both are known for advocating nationalism, they have to maintain tough postures in a bid to strengthen their support base at home. As a result, Russia-Turkey diplomatic relations could suffer in the near future.
But the likelihood of a war breaking out between the two countries is rather remote. It is true that Russia launched the air strikes in Syria to get an upper hand in the competition with Western powers. But a war with Turkey will be a very heavy economic burden for Russia, especially because it already faces severe economic constraints. As for Turkey, the losses it will suffer in a war with Russia will be simply too heavy to bear.
There have been at least 10 wars between Russia and Turkey over the past centuries, and neither side wants another this century. The two sides, therefore, could raise the pitch of their rhetoric but a war between them looks unlikely.
The incident will affect Russias Middle East policy, though. Moscow may not make major changes to its Middle East policy in the near future in order to maintain its strong presence in the region, but it could withdraw its forces from Syria earlier than originally planned.
Besides affecting Turkey-Russia relations, the incident also highlights a sordid fact. The IS has maintained its hold over parts of Iraq and Syria for more than one year using just conventional weapons, which are no match for those possessed by the United States and Russia, even Turkey, yet it shows no signs of being defeated. And the main reason for this is the lack of coordination among the powers fighting terrorism.
The US, Russia and France, three global powers, and Turkey, a regional power, have been pounding IS targets separately, but they have failed to form a common front to save people from the ISs abusive rule because of their different strategic and tactical purposes. All they are doing is defending their own narrow interests. The US and France want Assad to go while Russia is against any regime change in Syria. It is this conflict of interests that has created enough strategic space for the IS group to survive.
If this situation is not changed, the IS will gain in strength and continue to hold large parts of Iraq and Syria and make life hell for people under its rule. That would be against the long-term interests of global and regional powers, because the growth of the IS will fuel more terrorist attacks, from which no country is today safe. Therefore, all the powers fighting terrorism in the Middle East should join hands to not only eliminate the IS, but also do justice to their common cause.
The author is former Chinese ambassador to Iran and an expert on Middle Eastern studies. The article is an excerpt from his interview with China Dailys Zhang Zhouxiang.0Related StoriesRussia does not plan war with TurkeyCarve up this turkey for dessertTurkey says Russian pilots alive, seeking their releaseChina seeks trade, investment facilitation with Turkey: XiMost Viewed Todays Top NewsHousing booms may hurt, not heal, local growthTime to break free of protectionist shacklesAllow space for students to discover themselvesPhilippines arbitration case built on false pretextFunding global public goods for worlds recoveryForum TrendsTips to manage stress when studying abroadWhy are Chinese students heading to the US?Should investment lessons be mandatory?How can doctors and patients regain trust?Are women-only buses discriminatory?Do student evaluations measure teaching effectiveness?What annoys you most while traveling in China?ColumnistsTrumps willingness to talk to the DPRK is the right approachFestival drama peels layers of character who isnt thereFeatured ContributorsTurnball highlights China-Australia FTA as a valuable assetBloody curtain rising to greet US first-ever presidentStar BloggersMy best friend in China: 35th anniversary of China Daily By subeChina Daily is like a friend who stays with me in every mood in my life. If I am happy, I can write a blog and if I am upset, I can enjoy what others have said and let my feelings go away.China Daily, 35 years on: my memories By aixiI first discovered China Daily a few years ago. It was my first visit to China, and I was waiting for my tour guide to arrive.My vision for a smog-free China By eddieturksonI’ve lived in China for quite a considerable time including my graduate school years, travelled and worked in a few cities and still choose my destination taking into consideration the density of smog or PM2.5 particulate matter in the region.SpecialChina Daily, 35 years on: your memoriesPositive energy Leifeng laowai story2016 Happy Chinese New Year…| About China Daily | Advertise on Site | Contact Us | Job Offer | Expat Employment |Copyright 1995 -var oTime = new Date();
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