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What’s behind NATO’s "much ado" about routine air incident?

October 07, 2015, 16:21 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila
© TASS Archive

MOSCOW, October 7. /TASS/. NATO’s hue and cry over unintentional violation of Turkey’s airspace by Russian planes, involved in the air operation against the Islamic State, is a sure sign the alliance has joined the information war against Russia and the United States is out to spoil relations between Russia and Turkey, Russian experts believe.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has twice invited Russian ambassador to express protest to him over violations of the country’s airspace by Russian planes. The Russian Defense Ministry on Monday acknowledged that a Russian Sukhoi-30 jet had strayed into Turkey’s air space for several seconds, adding that it occurred in bad weather. The Russian military promised to take every measure to prevent such incidents in the future.

The North Atlantic Council met in urgent session on Tuesday to express full solidarity with Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara was unable to stay calm in the face of violations of its airspace by Russian planes. NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance’s planes did not violate the airspace of other countries. "It is not the routine of any NATO country to violate the air space of other countries," he stated.

Russia’s envoy to NATO Aleksandr Grushko believes that the incident involving a Russian plane in Turkey’s airspace was used to get NATO involved in an information war. NATO has ignored Russia’s explanations regarding the incident in Turkey’s air space, the diplomat said with certainty.

In the meantime, the Russian Defence Ministry said that it might accept the Pentagon’s proposals for coordinating operations against the Islamic State, Russian military spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Tuesday, adding that experts would discuss the technicalities of that cooperation on Wednesday.

"Worldwide clamour over Russia’s allegedly deliberate violation of Turkey’s (and consequently, NATO’s) air space is ‘sheer nonsense’," says Russia’s test pilot, Igor Malikov, holder of the Hero of Russia title. "If Turkish planes violated Russia’s airspace in the same fashion, if they were in an inconvenient position to make a safe landing and had to enter another country’s air space for the sake of safety, that’s fine. Russia would’ve never staged anything like this clown show for the whole world to see."

"Violations of the air space of neighboring countries are customary for the air forces of all states," military expert Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of the Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, has told TASS. "One may recall incidents between NATO members Greece and Turkey. Last summer they were exchanging notes of protest almost on the daily basis."

According to the Greek Air Force Staff, planes of Turkey’s 101st air squadron violated the country’s airspace 1,306 times.

"Russia’s actions were truly unintentional. Such matters are usually settled online and in a businesslike fashion. It is an entirely different matter if some reconnaissance plane deliberately ventures deep inside," Murakhovsky said.

NATO, he believes said, has joined the information war following the deployment of a Russian air and space force group in Syria and this explains why it draws attention to this incident in all ways possible.

As far as likely coordination of struggle against the Islamic State between Russia and the Pentagon is concerned, it can be established virtually in no time. "Russia, Iraq, Iran and Syria have deployed a coordination centre in Baghdad. The coordination centre of the US-led 62-nation coalition is also there. No technical problems exist. A communication line can be arranged for rather quickly. First and foremost steps should be taken to rule out incidents among the forces fighting against the Islamic State."

NATO and Turkey reacted to a routine incident so emotionally largely because NATO and, first and foremost, the United States are unhappy about the continuing rapprochement between Russia and Turkey, Assistant Professor at the Moscow State University’s world politics department, Aleksei Fenenko, has told TASS. "The energy dialogue between Russia and Turkey and their dialogue over the Middle East have alarmed the United States in earnest. This is something Washington would not like to see and it tries to upset it in every way possible. In the meantime, Turkey has binding commitments to NATO and certain rules of relationship with the United States to abide by."

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