August 4, 2016

OBAMA’S NATO: Turkey’s Tilt Toward Moscow.

The bases for this Russian-Turkish rapprochement are manifold, but the primary impetus is Bashar al-Assad’s near-restoration in Syria. In the past, Assad had been the major obstacle to improved ties between Russia and Turkey. The countries’ poor relations reached a boiling point when Turkey shot down an Su-24 Russian fighter jet last November. The situation in Syria has changed dramatically since that episode, however. The Russian-Iranian offensive in support of Assad has checkmated Turkey, shutting Ankara out of northern Syria. Now, Moscow and Tehran are in the midst of an operation to restore Assad’s control over Syria’s second city of Aleppo. Even an obstinate leader like Erdogan cannot ignore the hard reality that Assad is here to stay.

Thus, in a remarkable about-face five weeks ago, Erdogan apologized to Putin for the Su-24 shoot-down and asked the family of the killed pilot to “excuse us.” Two weeks later, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim stated that Turkey might even entertain normalizing relations with Syria someday.

What to make of this sudden change? By sidestepping the question of Assad, Erdogan is attempting to unlock cooperation with Russia on his other major priorities — the defeat of the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK) and the consolidation of domestic power.

Turkey prefers the strong horse.

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.