Following a renewal of Turkish-Russian relations, Turkey has taken a diplomatic stance regarding the Syrian conflict, warning against serious consequences if the five-year civil war is not resolved. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus warned this week that the Syrian proxy war between the U.S. and Russia could lead to worldwide conflict between the two powers.
“If the proxy war continues, after this, let me be clear, America and Russia will come to a point of war,” the Deputy Prime Minister stated.
However, Russia and Turkey continue to hold different views regarding what a resolution of the Syrian conflict might look like. The Deputy Prime Minister called Syrian president Bashar al-Assad a “pawn” before arguing his removal from power is necessary for long lasting peace, the Independent reported. Russia is unlikely to accept this proposal anytime soon.
Turkey’s support for jihadists, including ISIS militants, is extensive and well-documented. Because of this, and the fact the NATO member still calls for Assad’s removal, the extent to which Turkey will refuse to participate in the formation of a global conflict between Russia and the U.S is increasingly unclear.
It could simply be the case that Turkey’s warnings are merely a warning to Russia — especially in light of the fact that due to its NATO alliance, Turkey will be forced to back up the United States in a global conflict between Eastern powers and Western powers.
Further, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hawkish stance on Middle Eastern affairs was confirmed this week when he told the Iraqi president to “know his place.” This flagrant disregard for international law came in response to Iraq’s stance that they do not want Turkish assistance in their upcoming offensives, which are intended to retake Mosul from ISIS. In fact, Iraq boldly requested that Turkish troops leave Iraqi territory some time ago, but Turkey refuses to listen, further indicating Turkey looks to expand its regional influence.
Meanwhile, Iran has moved its warships to the coast of Yemen following attacks on Houthi rebel positions by the United States military. The move is reportedly intended to patrol the Gulf of Aden, which is one of the world’s most important shipping routes.
Everything appears to be in place for a worldwide military confrontation. Whether or not Turkey’s warnings are genuinely intended to seek resolution, one would hope they do not go unheeded.