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The Russian MFA: The Patriot missiles deployment in Turkey to aggravate the situation

23.11.2012 11:05

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the deployment of Patriot missile systems in Turkey will increase the risk of armed clashes. 'The more accumulated weapons, the greater the risk of using it, not excepting any provocation that may cause this,' he said on Friday at a briefing in Moscow.

As emphasized by the Russian foreign minister, "our concern stems from what might be called 'a syndrome of Chekhov's gun': if a gun appears on stage, it must go off."

"In the real world, in military and political affairs related to the settlement of conflicts, the appearance of a gun somewhere creates risks not because it is connected with the drama, but because any accumulation of weapons pose threats," said Lavrov. According to him, "any provocation can cause a very serious armed conflict." "We would like to avoid it in every possible way," said the Russian Foreign Minister. At the same time, he noted that Moscow understands well Turkey's concern over the situation on its border with Syria. The minister recalled that very often in this area clashes occur between Syrian government troops and opposition; refugees flee to Turkey. "And all this without any MANPADs already creates a very tense situation," said Lavrov.

He said that last October Russia proposed to establish a forward channel between Ankara and Damascus, to enable them to get real-time information from each other and avoid unnecessary aggravations. "Unfortunately, the proposal has not been implemented yet, but remains in force," said Lavrov noting that Russia is ready to render any assistance to the creation of such a channel.

Recall that Turkey has officially requested NATO, of which it is a member, to provide Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to protect the border with Syria, where the situation remains volatile. More frequent artillery and mortar attacks from both sides and a cross-border operation mandate issued by the Turkish Parliament increase the probability of the two neighboring countries' involvement in a full-scale armed conflict.

The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet said in this connection that according to opinion polls, more than 60% of the Turkish population is against the military conflict and escalating border tensions with Syria. Another newspaper, the Daily News, said the anti-Syrian policy of the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan led to the government's marked separation from the people. Many political and information circles in Turkey and in the region consider Ankara an instigator of a possible military conflict with Damascus. According to political analysts, this is in no small measure helped by provocative actions such as conveying about a hundred experienced fighters of al-Qaeda to Turkey and their subsequent dispatching to the territory of Syria, and training the Syrian opposition militants in camps of Turkey.

Opposition parties in Turkey, including the People's Republic Party not agreeing with the parliamentary mandate for cross-border operations in Syria, consider this act a kind of capitulation before imperial powers seeking to change of the ruling government in Syria.

According to analysts, the artillery shelling of Turkish territory that caused the aggravation of the situation is beneficial primarily to fighters and terrorists of the Syrian opposition. But for the Syrian army there is no sense in performing a mortar attack on the neighboring state amid the difficult internal crisis. So the story about organizing provocations by Syrian fighters remains the major one.