‘Now that Turkey sabotaged French President Hollande’s plan to garner Russia-US cooperation in fighting ISIS by downing the Russian plane, the Russian coalition may seek to forge alternative cooperation with France, Germany and EU rather than US and Turkey, possibly joined by China given recent ISIS execution of the Chinese hostage’ argues Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS-Johns Hopkins University Dr Christina Lin in her article published in the Times of Israel. Dr Lin – recently interviewed by chinaandgreece.com on China and the Islamic State – is one of the first scholars who have attempted to analyse the new international environment after the downing of the Russian plane and the dramatic deterioration of relations between Moscow and Ankara. In her view, Turkish President Erdogan has now given ‘a green light for Russian and Iraqi jetfighters to shoot down Turkish planes over Iraq [and] as China and India are also contemplating joining the Russian coalition, this would complicate the situation in both Syria and Iraq considerably’.
According to Dr Christina Lin, Erdogan has already attempted in the past to use Turkish NATO membership as a tool to achieve his foreign policy goals and this is what he aims at after shooting down the Russian plane. In her analysis, she goes further and draws a parallel between the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus in 1974 and the current strategy of the Turkish government. As she says: ‘ Now it appears Turkey is once again expanding its sovereignty to its neighborhood, over northern Syria via an attempted no-fly zone, as well as over Kurdistan in northern Iraq.’ Within this context, she believes that NATO could be placed under risk due to Ankara’s strategy to push the Alliance towards an interest-based logic. Subsequently, she elaborates on the potential impact of this new reality in the Eastern Mediterranean as far as foreign policies of both Turkey and Russia are concerned. ‘By antagonising Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Iraqi Kurdistan,Turkey is ironically the great unifier driving these countries to side with Russia in the Mediterranean’, Dr Lin asserts.