Sunday, February 21, 2016

Turkey in the Straw

For better or worse, Turkey is a consequential country, one whose ups and downs COTTonLINE has followed. Now The Washington Post carries a story by Liz Sly, the Beirut bureau chief, which takes a dim view of Turkey's options going forward.

President Erdogan has not managed their situation adroitly to this point. Turkey is beset by Kurds within and without, and overrun by Syrian refugees while hostile Russia has military assets on three sides of Turkey. Shooting down a Russian plane over Syria wasn't smart and Turkish demands for U.S. backing have largely fallen on deaf ears. Sly finishes by quoting a professor of international relations in Ankara:
This is a country that has often had problems in the past, but the scale of what is happening now is beyond Turkey’s capacity for digestion.

What’s happening in Syria is a question of survival for Erdogan, so it is not possible to rule anything out. For Turkey, there is no good scenario from now on.
Some have argued that World War III could break out when NATO goes to Turkey's aid in the event they are clumsy enough to get into a shooting war with Russia. This eventuality is unlikely, inasmuch as NATO is currently in no mood to bail out the Turks.