As the days go by, the Turkish handling of its airplane downed by the Syrian military on June 23 increasingly echoes the Mavi Marmara episode on May 31, 2010. In both cases:
- Ankara prepared for the clash with an extended period of verbal and (in the Syrian case) military aggression;
- It then escalated and dared the other side to respond with force;
- When the other side did respond forcefully, the Turkish leadership seized on this, seemingly delighted to make it the centerpiece of bilateral relations and refusing to let it go;
- It avidly sought wide support through international fora (United Nations, NATO);
- It came up with elaborate self-justifications; and
- It exploited the incident to do as much damage as possible to the opponent.
Comments: (1) Given hostile Turkish relations with the governments of Iraq and Cyprus, don’t be surprised if it follows this same pattern in those two instances as well. Others – Greece, Armenia, Georgia, even Iran – could follow. (2) We are witnessing the step-by-step emergence of Turkey as a rogue state.
This post first appeared in National Review Online.