- - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The world knows the Russians are lying when they say they are primarily fighting the Islamic State in Syria. They are not. They are primarily bombing rebels looking to bring down the Assad regime, a long-term Russian and Soviet ally in the Middle East. Yes, they have targeted ISIS more since the downing of the Russian airliner by the jihadists but there are no ISIS fighters in the northern Syrian region where the Russian jet was shot down. It’s safe to say you can tell when the Russian news agencies are lying by their lips moving, as their propaganda glorifying the non-existent Russian campaign against ISIS spews from the Russian airwaves.  

However, this does not excuse Turkey’s actions in killing a Russian pilot and downing the Russian aircraft. This is an extreme over-reaction and the stuff wars are made of.  There will be a response by Russian President Vladimir Putin and it won’t be good for the United States or NATO. He has to respond; he has no choice.

A simple escort out of the area would have done the trick. Turkish planes obviously are patrolling the border and could have done so easily without firing a shot. The Pentagon has confirmed the Russian plane was in Turkish airspace only for a period of seconds, as it crossed a small peninsula of Turkish land jutting into Syria.  

This is the same Turkey that has been actually running close air support at times for ISIS when Kurdish forces crossed a certain line in Syria and Northern Iraq that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned them not to cross. This is the same Turkey that has been allowing ISIS fighters to cross their border into Syria.  This is the same Turkey that is turning into an Islamist theocracy and a dictatorship, slowly destroying freedom of the press and instituting sharia law. To quote former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, “They don’t share Western values.”

What bothers me is the possibility of Turkey pulling NATO into a conflict with Russia over its irresponsible actions and Islamic agenda.  

I’m not excusing Russia, as it has been warned over and over again. Russia did and should have known better, and Mr. Putin is no angel in Syria or Ukraine. But this is no excuse to kill a Russian pilot and destroy a Russian plane by a NATO country for God’s sake. There are much bigger dangers here, like nuclear war for one. This incident shows that Turkey does not have the alliance’s well-being in mind, only its own selfish Islamist agenda.  

I have wondered over and over again if it is time to rethink Turkey’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Tuesday’s incident makes this discussion all the more timely and relevant.

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