Turkey and Russia: a slow-fuse time bomb in the Middle East

Antalya, Nov. 16, 2015: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) presented personalized commemorative stamps to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the most recent G20-Turkey Summit, just eight days before a Turkish F-16 downed a Russian SU-24 bomber (source: dpa)
Antalya, Nov. 16, 2015: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) presented personalized commemorative stamps to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the most recent G20-Turkey Summit, just eight days before a Turkish F-16 downed a Russian SU-24 bomber (source: dpa)

The war for public opinion over the Middle East is heating up between Moscow and Ankara. Since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on its border with Syria in late November, the recriminations have been flying. Each of these powers is accusing the other of playing Daesh’s game, one by supporting the moderate opposition, the other by propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Both continue to ratchet up tensions, magnifying the risk of a direct conflict. A seemingly inevitable clash between Saudi Arabia and Iran will further complicate the situation.

Russia has accused Turkey of supporting Daesh, also known as Islamic State, through clandestine purchases of oil from the gro...

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