MISTAKES have been committed in the war waged by some countries against terrorism (ISIL). Even if the mistake is small, it is detrimental and it might change the course of the entire battle.
This is what the government of Turkey should have taken into consideration before issuing orders to shoot down the Russian fighter jet even if the jet crossed Turkey’s air space — because the current crisis between Turkey and Russia can change the calculations of certain countries. Therefore, it is necessary for these countries to exert tremendous efforts in calming the situation between Turkey and Russia in order to avoid escalation of the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Terrorist groups might take advantage of such conflicts to encourage their members by showing them how the ‘enemy’ crumbles internally in order to instill jubilation, strength and enthusiasm in terrorists. This does not mean a country should let go when its sovereignty is violated — as flexibility is also needed in dealing with such incidents, especially when Turkey is accused of facilitating the way for terrorists to pass through its borders to enter Iran and Syria, in addition to allowing refugees to flood Europe.
Furthermore, the unity of Turkey is under threat by separatist groups in its territories, and Iran, through the presence of its revolutionary guards in Syria and attempts to surround Turkey. This is a serious threat for Turkey and the entire region. It would have been wise for the Turkish command to act more appropriately rather than what we witnessed a few days after the incident.
Nonetheless, there are signs that the two countries are heading towards resolving their disputes, especially after the Russian Foreign Minister announced his intention to meet his Turkish counterpart in the coming days. Once the matter is resolved, the main focus should be on Syrian-Syrian dialogue to end the humanitarian crisis which has been going on in the last five years.
Indeed, the priority should be ending the Syrian crisis based on any initiative for the Syrian refugees to return to their country, to help broaden security, and to allow the Syrians to determine their destiny by choosing their president without foreign pressure.
The first step should be to apply pressure on Iran to withdraw its troops and militias. This should go hand in hand with operations to wipe out DAESH and other terrorist groups; otherwise, Iran will control Iraq and Syria. If this happens, Iran will expand its influence in other countries too.
Perhaps, the downing of the Russian fighter jet was a moment of military recklessness and Turkey’s jubilation after the incident was inappropriate.
If Ankara is sincere in getting rid of the terrorism risk that lurks on its borders, it should apologize and avoid opening unnecessary frontiers. It is also imperative for Russia to take the same steps.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times