Erdogan’s Hollow Apology to Putin
by Stephen Lendman
Last November, Turkey willfully and without provocation downed a Russian Su-24 warplane flying over Syria, falsely claiming it entered Turkish airspace.
At the time, Erdogan defiantly said “(i)f another violation of our aerial border happens, we(‘ll) respond in the same way.” Clear Russian evidence proved its aircraft didn’t enter Turkish airspace. No warnings were given as Ankara claimed.
Putin justifiably called the incident a treacherous “stab in the back.” He accused Erdogan of being an “accomplice of terrorists.” Ground fire killed Russian pilot Sergey Rumyantsev after ejecting from the crippled aircraft.
His navigator Konstantin Murakhtin survived, saved by Russian ground rescue operations. Washington’s dirty hands were likely involved, Erdogan serving as a convenient hitman.
His war crime proved costly. Moscow imposed stiff sanctions, banning or restricting Turkish business and organizations from conducting certain types of activity in Russia, harming its economy.
Billions of dollars of trade and investment were lost. Current or planned joint projects were frozen or cancelled - including the Turkish Stream pipeline project to deliver Russian natural gas through Turkey to Europe, as well as planned construction of one or more nuclear power plants.
On Monday, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “Russian President Vladimir Putin has received a message from Turkey’s President Erdogan where the Turkish leader expressed his readiness to settle the situation over the downing of the Russian warplane.”
“In his message, the Turkish head of state offered his condolences to the family of the Russian pilot and said, ‘I am sorry.’ “
Erdogan “expressed his readiness to settle the situation over the downing of the Russian warplane.” Calling Moscow “a friend and a strategic partner,” he lied, saying “(w)e never had a desire or a deliberate intention to down an aircraft belonging to Russia.” His war crime proved otherwise.
His administration confirmed sending the letter. Its precise contents weren’t disclosed. An Ankara press service said “(a)s soon as we have an instruction or the text of the message, an official statement will follow.”
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Ankara is ready to pay compensation for downing the Russian plane.
Erdogan’s outreach to Putin belies his alliance with Obama’s war on Syria, letting ISIS and other terrorists operate from Turkish territory.
He continues providing them with arms, munitions and other material support, sells their stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil - Erdogan, his family members and other Ankara officials profiting hugely.
So far, Putin hasn’t officially responded to Erdogan’s outreach. Whatever he says or does, normalized relations remain untenable as long as both countries have irreconcilable differences on Syria.
Putin wants peaceful conflict resolution, Syrians alone deciding who’ll lead them. Erdogan wants endless war, Assad toppled, puppet governance replacing him.
Putin supports Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity. Erdogan wants them destroyed, parts of northern Syria annexed. Nothing in prospect suggests either leader changing their positions.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.