Russia opens economic war against Turkey over shootdown

posted at 12:01 pm on November 27, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

The effort to build a grand coalition to fight ISIS has resulted in at least one form of effective aggression, but it’s not aimed at the terrorist quasi-state. After Turkey’s air force shot down a Russian fighter that had violated its airspace, resulting in the death of the pilot and one of the Russians trying to rescue him, Russia has demanded an apology from Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan, who patently refuses to give one. Russia has now opened a series of economic measures designed to punish Turkey, and is threatening to pull out of the anti-ISIS coalition:

Russia threatened economic retaliation against Turkey on Thursday and said it was still awaiting a reasonable explanation for the shooting down of its warplane, but Turkey dismissed the threats as “emotional” and “unfitting.”

In an escalating war of words, President Tayyip Erdogan responded to Russian accusations that Turkey has been buying oil and gas from Islamic State in Syria by accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his backers, which include Moscow, of being the real source of the group’s financial and military power. …

Earlier, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered his government to draw up measures that would include freezing some joint investment projects and restricting food imports from Turkey.

Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Moscow could put limits on flights to and from Turkey, halt preparations for a joint free trade zone, and restrict high-profile projects including the TurkStream gas pipeline and a $20 billion nuclear power plant Russia is building in Turkey.

Russia’s defense ministry meanwhile said it had suspended all cooperation with the Turkish military, including a hotline set up to share information on Russian air strikes in Syria, the TASS news agency reported.

Needless to say, Vladimir Putin is not in a conciliatory mood:

However, Erdogan wasn’t exactly in the mood to retreat, either, dismissing Putin’s demands as “emotional,” and warning Putin “not to play with fire” in his attempt to push Turkey around:

Also on Thursday, Erdogan underscored the complex military landscape in Syria, where a sprawling cast of countries and rebel groups are engaged on the battlefield and in the skies overhead, sometimes with minimal coordination.

He accused Russia of using its declared goal to fight ISIS group in Syria as a pretext to target opposition groups including the Turkmen, in order to shore up Syrian President Bashar Assad.

He also challenged Russia to prove its accusation that Turkey is buying oil and gas from ISIS, calling the claims “shameful” and even pledging to step down if the claim is proven.

“This is a great disrespect to Turkey and those who make the claims are slanderers,” he said. “If they prove it, Tayyip Erdogan would step down.”

Putin responded to this by showing surveillance photos of oil tankers entering Turkey, allegedly from ISIS, and suggested that maybe Erdogan was either too incompetent or corrupt to know it.

In other words, there doesn’t appear to be much of an opening for a rapprochement at the moment, but Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu is working on it. According to CNN, Davutoglu’s first task is to get Erdogan and Putin to stop talking so much:

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, often characterized as the friendly face of his government, published a conciliatory essay Friday in the Times of London.

Davutoglu said the shooting down by Turkey this week “was not — and is not — an act against a specific country.”

“While the measures to defend our territory will remain in place, Turkey will work with Russia and our allies to calm tensions,” Davutoglu wrote.

If Turkey and Russia are at odds, the essay said, the winner will be the terrorist group ISIS, also known as Daesh.

“This is the time to stand firm against Daesh,” Davotoglu said. “Collective action that harnesses the varying strengths of the US, the EU, Russia, Turkey and others can, and will, turn the tide.”

It’s the time to stand firm against ISIS, but that’s the problem with everyone in the coalition. All of the members have other priorities in this fight than standing firm against ISIS, primarily the status of Bashar al-Assad. Russia wants Assad left in place, France leans in that direction, and the US and Turkey have made it clear that they want him out. In fact, the US and Turkey insist that ISIS can’t be defeated until Assad agrees to leave, while Russia insists that Assad is necessary to restore stability and squeeze out ISIS — and there are elements of truth in both positions. Beyond that, there is also the designs Russia and Iran have on Syria as a client state and proxy in the region, and the competing interests the EU and US have in both commercial and security arenas.

Under those circumstances, there isn’t much potential for a grand alliance to function on anything but a temporary and tactical level. Blend all of this together with the predilection of Russian pilots for pulling provocative stunts around the borders and naval assets of its rivals, and you end up with a combustible mix that produces exactly this kind of outcome. Had the US, or the US and the EU, dealt with ISIS when the DIA first started sounding the alarm in 2012, Russia could have been kept out of the equation entirely. Instead, the West dithered, primarily because Barack Obama needed to sustain the illusion that his withdrawal from Iraq was a total success. Now we have a much bigger mess, and Russia and Iran dictating outcomes. This can be described as many things, but smart power is not one of them.


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Comments

One sure way to always be on the right side of an issue is never, ever, ever, side with the muslims. Come to think of it, same goes for democrats.

Wine_N_Dine on November 27, 2015 at 12:10 PM

wow that is some weak sauce from big bad vlad.

turkey’s economy is in better shape than yours, Putie Poo.

everdiso on November 27, 2015 at 12:11 PM

Russia opens economic war against Turkey over shootdown

…so JugEars will find some way to funnel them a couple of billion…or so!

JugEarsButtHurt on November 27, 2015 at 12:12 PM

Putin is weak! No one is afraid of him! – Weed

Rogue on November 27, 2015 at 12:12 PM

There really isn’t a good guy here.

But if you feel like rooting for a side, Turkey LOVES them some ISIS. Just sayin’….

Agent Cooper on November 27, 2015 at 12:17 PM

If you want to witness some ‘extremely heated rhetoric’ against ‘refugees’, as well as viewing what is really happening on the ground, while laughing:

VIDEO: ‘I’ll Kill You, C*cksucker!’ – Hungarian Lorry Driver Swerves To Hit Migrants In Warzone Calais

Watch: 15 Minutes Driving in Calais

Bishbop on November 27, 2015 at 12:24 PM

Erdogan is a punk. He would never have pulled this stunt if Turkey were not a member of NATO.

It’s well known that Turkey is supporting ISIS.

Turkey is a loose cannon and an enemy of the West. I’m glad to see Putin putting the screws to that vermin.

Joseph K on November 27, 2015 at 12:26 PM

turkey’s economy is in better shape than yours, Putie Poo.

everdiso on November 27, 2015 at 12:11 PM

Their respective per capita GDP’s disagree with your assertion.

But then, what are facts to acolytes of Dear Liar…?

JohnGalt23 on November 27, 2015 at 12:29 PM

everdiso forever ignorant.

cozmo on November 27, 2015 at 12:31 PM

Erdogen, muslim vermin, hides behind prostitute NATO’s skirt.

VorDaj on November 27, 2015 at 12:40 PM

However, Erdogan wasn’t exactly in the mood to retreat, either, dismissing Putin’s demands as “emotional,” and warning Putin “not to play with fire” in his attempt to push Turkey around:

If only he had said, ‘Putin has blood shooting out of his whatever…’

lolz

Bishbop on November 27, 2015 at 12:43 PM

“This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.”

jnelchef on November 27, 2015 at 12:44 PM

Russia will end up doing the job the United States wouldn’t: Arm the Kurds. This helps in the fight against ISIS and provides Putin with a way to give the middle finger to Turkey. And Erdogan better watch his trash talk. It’s easy to talk tough when NATO has got your back, but what happens when he finally realizes that NATO is a paper tiger that won’t lift a finger to help him against Russia?

ReaganWasRight on November 27, 2015 at 12:50 PM

Russia raiding Turkish firms and sending imports back

Moscow also preventing Turkish tourists from entering Russia, businessmen say, in apparent response to downing of plane.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/russia-raiding-turkish-firms-sending-exports-151126143650172.html

davidk on November 27, 2015 at 12:51 PM

everdiso on November 27, 2015 at 12:11 PM

…every time you take a shit…aren’t you alarmed seeing some of your brain matter…floating in the porcelain bowl?

JugEarsButtHurt on November 27, 2015 at 1:03 PM

Turkey earned up to 20 billion a year in Russian tourism money. With all Russian business squandered, the industry will be on life support soon. Funnily, Putin’s move benefits Europeans who’ll not only buy all-inclusive vacations cheaper but also enjoy absence of permanently drunk, belligerent Russian tourists.

Rix on November 27, 2015 at 1:11 PM

OT: Man, Guy Benson is young! Just saw him on FNC and he looks like a kid…

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2015 at 1:12 PM

Obamas’ Middle East war just keeps better and better.

It’s starting to make Bushs’ invasion of Iraq look like a turkey shoot.

MichaelGabriel on November 27, 2015 at 1:13 PM

The enemy is ISLAM – We need to join with Russia.
Assad is a pimple on history’s ass.

redguy on November 27, 2015 at 1:17 PM

The enemy is ISLAM – We need to join with Russia.
Assad is a pimple on history’s ass.

redguy on November 27, 2015 at 1:17 PM

I agree.

davidk on November 27, 2015 at 1:23 PM

Could this be the thing to finally break up NATO?

LoganSix on November 27, 2015 at 1:32 PM

Erdogen has to go… Constantinople has been occupied long enough.

equanimous on November 27, 2015 at 1:44 PM

This can be described as many things, but smart power is not one of them.

How about it being describe as the “Prologue to World War III?”

Walter L. Newton on November 27, 2015 at 1:49 PM

ReaganWasRight on November 27, 2015 at 12:50 PM

With 15 million Kurds in a nation of 75 million as well as a long history of repression and a recent history of attacking PKK while pretending to attack ISIS, Turkey is remarkably vulnerable to the long-standing relationship of Russia with Kurds. And it helps that the only people with significant battlefield victories against ISIS are….Kurds, despite not being materially supported in any significant way by USA.

iconoclast on November 27, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Their respective per capita GDP’s disagree with your assertion.

But then, what are facts to acolytes of Dear Liar…?

JohnGalt23 on November 27, 2015 at 12:29 PM

http://knoema.com/sijweyg/gdp-per-capita-ranking-2015-data-and-charts

GDP per capita, curent prices

Turkey 9290 (-10.5% from 2014)
Russia 8447 (-33.6%)

GDP per capita, PPP based

Russia 23744 (-2.9%)
Turkey 20277 (+2.9%)

Real GDP per capita growth

Russia -3.8
Turkey +1.9

facts.

everdiso on November 27, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Erdogan is a punk. He would never have pulled this stunt if Turkey were not a member of NATO.

It’s well known that Turkey is supporting ISIS.

Turkey is a loose cannon and an enemy of the West. I’m glad to see Putin putting the screws to that vermin.

Joseph K on November 27, 2015 at 12:26 PM

Agreed. Erdogan is only attacking Russia because he has Obama on his six.

After living through the cold-war and seeing the Soviets as evil, it is hard for me to say that I now believe Putin before my own president. But I do.

Kaffa on November 27, 2015 at 2:54 PM

With 15 million Kurds in a nation of 75 million as well as a long history of repression and a recent history of attacking PKK while pretending to attack ISIS, Turkey is remarkably vulnerable to the long-standing relationship of Russia with Kurds. And it helps that the only people with significant battlefield victories against ISIS are….Kurds, despite not being materially supported in any significant way by USA.

iconoclast on November 27, 2015 at 2:22 PM

If I remember correctly the general consensus is that the Turkish gov’t was behind the terror attack in Ankara.

There is also quite a bit of reporting about Turkey’s collusion with “moderate” rebels in that false flag gas attack that they tried to blame on Assad in order to goad Obama into war.

Free Anatolia!

Joseph K on November 27, 2015 at 2:59 PM

Turkey 9290 (-10.5% from 2014)
Russia 8447 (-33.6%)

GDP per capita, PPP based

Russia 23744 (-2.9%)
Turkey 20277 (+2.9%)

Real GDP per capita growth

Russia -3.8
Turkey +1.9

facts.

everdiso on November 27, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Interesting stats, but you might want to compare their military power:
http://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-comparison-detail.asp?form=form&country1=russia&country2=turkey&Submit=COMPARE

I don’t think it would be much of a contest. Would Obama actually send troops to help a NATO nation? That’s an open question IMO.

Kaffa on November 27, 2015 at 3:00 PM

everdiso on November 27, 2015 at 2:22 PM

So Russia happens to currently be in a mild recession, which is widely forecast to end next year. That’s not going to stop Turkey from being hurt by Russian sanctions, or change the fact that Turkey is much more dependent on trade with Russia than Russia is on trade with Turkey.

You want to compare the economic records of Erdogan and Putin?

From 2003, when Erdogan came to power, through 2014, Turkey’s GDP increased by about 2.6 times, from $300 billion to $800 billion.

From 2000, when Putin came to power, through 2014, Russia’s GDP increased almost ten times, from $260 billion to $1.86 trillion.

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD

Jon0815 on November 27, 2015 at 3:41 PM

Russians are the heart of Turkey’s tourism. Further, Turkey exports a lot to Russia. Turkish Big Business will be leaning on Erdogan soon enough. Erdogan will apologize.

higgins1991 on November 27, 2015 at 4:19 PM

Russia can’t afford any trade wars. The ruble stinks to the high heavens.

How do you initiate a trade war when your currency is the weakest it has ever been?

Putin is grandstanding….

weedisgood on November 27, 2015 at 4:27 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vogp-n1-JPA

Schadenfreude on November 27, 2015 at 5:52 PM

Perhaps Ergodan needs to borrow HIllary’s reset button.

Robert17 on November 27, 2015 at 10:17 PM

Putin ready to beat the stuffing out of Turkey.
See what I did there? ;-P

tpitman on November 27, 2015 at 10:20 PM

I hope this all comes to a head sooner rather than later.

Russia has more military power but their economy is in shambles, but a big part of Turkey’s income came from them and if pressed Obama WILL run like a French cheerleader instead of supporting Turkey against a nuclear-armed power. Gonna be interesting to see who blinks first.

LawfulGood on November 27, 2015 at 10:46 PM

Had the US, or the US and the EU, dealt with ISIS when the DIA first started sounding the alarm in 2012, Russia could have been kept out of the equation entirely. Instead, the West dithered, primarily because Barack Obama needed to sustain the illusion that his withdrawal from Iraq was a total success. Now we have a much bigger mess, and Russia and Iran dictating outcomes. This can be described as many things, but smart power is not one of them.

Unfortunately, we can’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and have to go on from where we are (but do keep blaming Obama because it really is largely his fault and he deserves to have his name attached to this fiasco).

AesopFan on November 28, 2015 at 12:14 AM

Let’s use common sense. Turkey shot down the Russian because they were opposed to the extreme to what the Russian jet was gonna do in Syria.

Was the Russian jet on its way to help ISIS after ISIS blew up their passenger jetliner?

These things aren’t all that difficult to understand.

Buddahpundit on November 29, 2015 at 1:01 AM