by Roy Tov
Saturday, June 23rd, 2012
Byzantine at heart, the Rising Ottoman is planning to…
Certain news create nostalgia for the times in which governments censored almost everything. Back then, one was spared the insulting attempts to manipulate public opinion by sheer lies told by governments. Yesterday, June 22, 2012, an American-made Phantom F-4 jet in service of the Turkish army was downed by Syrian air defense systems. Subsequently, the plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. Today, Saturday, the Turkish and Syrian navies are still searching for the two pilots in a friendly show of cooperation. Until this point, all the events were admitted by all sides. In a formal statement, Turkey President Abdullah Gul said that the fighter jet had crossed the border into Syria, and then he added that the Turkish government could not ignore the fact that Syria had shot down a Turkish aircraft; implying possible Turkish answers to the event. He didn’t mention Syria’s right of self-defense. Almost every word was expected; but then, Mr. Gul added a very odd statement.
Phantom F-4 in Turkish Service
“It is routine for jet fighters to sometimes fly in and out over borders… when you consider their speed over the sea,” Mr. Gul said. I must agree with him that fighter jets fly fast; the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom involved in this event can reach a top speed of over Mach 2.2. Yet, it has an advanced navigation system, and is capable of incredibly complex maneuvers, like landing with astonishing exactitude. This aircraft seldom misses a landing strip, regardless its narrowness. A landing strip is geometrically identical to a border; there is no reason why such a fighter would have troubles finding it. Moreover, as a fighter, it can make high-speed maneuvers in order to intercept—or escape from—an enemy aircraft. Sometimes, this is done with a precision of inches, as it had been shown on endless documentaries analyzing such events. Yet, this state-of-the-art fighter made yesterday a very clumsy incursion into Syria’s Latakia Governorate, as the map below shows. It made a loop that began and ended tragically in the Mediterranean Sea; flying miles over Syrian territory. With all the sympathy to Mr. Gul, his description of the event as an error is unacceptable. Another point of interest I want to mention before attempting to analyze Mr. Gul’s goals, is that Turkey uses upgraded Phantoms. They were improved in 1995 by Israel’s IAI and are known as F-4E 2020 Terminator; they are used massively in the suppression of the Kurd uprising in Eastern Turkey.
Turkish Phantom Trajectory | According to Syrian News Agency
A Turkish fighter entered Syrian airspace uninvited and was shot down by an almost automatic air defense system. Syria owns one of the most sophisticated such systems in the Middle East; it regularly upgrades it with Russian equipment. All its neighbors know that; thus such a deep incursion by a single fighter without previous notice can only be defined as a wild provocation. Mr. Gul and the Turkish Army wanted a downed aircraft. Technically, now they have an excuse to reciprocate. Overall, this is a slight variation on a classical false flag attack; call it “clumsy flag attack” if you want.
The Rising Ottoman is Byzantine at its heart; the most obvious reason for its sacrificing a fighter is almost for sure not the main one. After almost 18 months of civil war, Syria is at the verge of being sliced by NATO supported forces. It is difficult to look at what is happening nowadays between Turkey and Syria and not to recognize that Turkey is returning to its historical role as a colonial power. It is openly supporting a rebel Syrian group. It supports the establishment of security zones for Syrian refugees inside Syrian territory. Until now, it claimed this should be done as part of an international force under UN mandate; however, it has also declared that it may have to act on its own if the Syrian uprising threatens its national security. Turkey is part of NATO, the North Atlantic Alliance, which attacked and practically destroyed Libya last year (see Media Manipulation, Libya and Western Lies). Turkey spearheading NATO attacks on Syria in an attempt to provoke the last to react and then justify a subsequent brutal reaction by NATO is a credible scenario. Yet, this is unlikely to be Gul’s goal. Turkey is not interested in an occupied Syria being controlled from Brussels. Why should Turkey share its colonial cake?
“Elementary, Dr. Watson!”
The trajectory of the abovementioned fighter is of enormous interest, since it pinpointed Turkey’s main interest. It flew just south of Hatay. In 1938, Hatay—a small territory on the Mediterranean coast—became independent from the French mandate of Syria as the Republic of Hatay. Following a referendum in 1939, Hatay decided to join Turkey, forming the singular panhandle shape that can be seen on the maps of Turkey. Syria still doesn’t recognize that event as legitimate. In the last year, this area had regained strategic importance after the break-up of the Turkish-Israeli alliance due to the Freedom Flotilla Affair. This break-up is shaping the exploitation of the newly discovered gas reservoirs in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. In Greece’s Fadeaway: Iran and Israel Battle over Cyprus, I analyzed the new regional alliances fighting over the large reservoirs of gas (and more, see Gas, Oil … Uranium) in the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. In November 2011, Cyprus announced it would explore its undersea natural gas wells in cooperation with Israel; this was the trigger for Netanyahu’s visit to the island in February 2012. The agreements announced between the countries—including military ones—indicate that Israel has shifted its main ally in the area from Turkey to Cyprus. Turkey has announced that it would not allow underwater drills in Cypriot waters, clearly citing military preventative actions. The Turkish intervention is the result of Cyprus being divided between the Republic of Cyprus in the south and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Thus, two clear bands had been created around the gas field issue: Turkey-Lebanon-Northern Cyprus-Iran, and Israel-Cyprus. Later on, in April, Greece joined the Israeli led alliance; this is important since Greece is a major worldwide player in oil transport. The USA—technically Turkey’s ally in NATO—has conducted the “Noble Dina” military drill with Israel and Greece in the gas fields area. Led by the U.S. Sixth Fleet, Noble Dina involves simulations of combat against submarines, air battles and protection of offshore natural gas platforms. What will NATO do if a war erupts between these two alliances? Both alliances have announced that the gas fields are casus belli. In June 2012, Israel announced the beginning of a feasibility study regarding artificial islands that would facilitate its control over the fields. Considering this, the Turkish provocation acquires an additional dimension that clearly transcend NATO.
Lebanon and Northern Cyprus are Turkey’s actual access points to the gas fields. Turkey would like to expand its access to the Mediterranean Sea, as well as to facilitate its communications and transport with Lebanon, which in the next years may become a regional power replacing the troubled Syria. The provocation of the fighter remains a provocation under this scenario, but its goals slightly shifts. Slicing Syria in order to annex the Latakia Governorate to Turkey—as it was done with Hatay in the past—will open a land corridor between Turkey and Lebanon as well as increase Turkey’s access to the gas fields. Byzantine at heart, the Rising Ottoman is planning to renew its historical empire.