Author: Vitaly Portnikov

MY ENEMY'S ENEMY: WHAT UKRAINE WILL GAIN FROM THE RUSSIA-TURKEY CONFLICT. (By Vitaly Portnikov., Nov. 27, 2015, Complete text:) At first glance, [it seems] Ukraine can only watch the evolution of the new conflict in the Middle East. However, even now it is clear that many global policy issues, including the resolution of the Ukraine crisis, hinge on how Russian-Turkish relations develop and how far these countries will go in their disagreements over Syria.

There are also many parallels in the way events have unfolded around Russia's conflict with Turkey [over the downing of a Russian military aircraft; see the first feature in this issue, above - Trans.] and around Russia's conflict with Ukraine. The first parallel is the inevitability of the conflict. That [Russian President] Vladimir Putin was bound to attack the [2014] "Independence Square uprising" was predicted literally within the first few days of the outbreak of the protests in Ukraine. At the same time, it was clear that this attack would not come unexpectedly and that there would be no serious action on Russia's part before the conclusion of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, which the Russian leader regarded as an element of his personal prestige.

Indeed, plans to respond to the Ukraine protest were put into action after the Olympic Games; however, the attack had to be directed not at the Independence Square protests but at Ukraine itself, where, as a result of a change in government, forces had come to power that symbolized the country's new pro-European choice and its final break with the Soviet past.

That a conflict between Turkey and Russia was bound to flare up was predicted within hours of Vladimir Putin's decision to launch an operation to support [Syrian President] Bashar Assad's regime. And, of course, this was not about how many minutes or seconds that Russian aircraft had violated Turkish airspace, but ...

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