Turkey pursues its own interests in the Syrian conflict and it is not cooperating with NATO or other forces in the region, a retired US Army Major General Paul Vallely said in an interview with RT.
The downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber by the Turkish air force will hardly be the last act of provocation by Ankara, so NATO should kick Turkey out of the alliance, Vallely said.
He believes that the attack on the Russian aircraft had nothing to do with protecting national borders. It was aimed at demonstrating to Russia that Turkey is the dominant power in the region and that it’s not going to give ground.
The president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been involved in the conflict in the area for quite some time, and this incident isn’t the first of its kind: a few years ago Turkey shot down a Syrian jet.
According to Vallely, the Su-24 incident was a clear provocation. And since Turkey seeks to control the situation in the region and lays claim to being a regional leader, it is going to continue to commit provocative actions in the future.
NATO should consider this incident a red flag, the retired Major General stressed. Turkey unilaterally made a decision to down a Russian plane and showed that it is not going to agree its actions with the alliance. This has been Ankara’s policy for a long time.
“They want to recreate their own Ottoman Empire to a great degree, and of course Erdogan is moving more towards a controlled Islamic State [ISIL]. So they have the wrong agenda there in Turkey and that’s what they are following”, — Vallely noted.
NATO member states should build up steam and push Turkey out of the alliance, because Ankara is not “cooperating against ISIS, not cooperating at all with some of the forces inside of Syria, they want to see Assad removed or replaced by another government,” Vallely said.
Turkey only uses NATO when it needs something and tries to benefit from the membership as much as it can. The country gets operational guides, techniques, new weapons and equipment, new tactics and strategies. Yet Erdogan continues to pursue only his own interests, he argued.
The incident is not a good omen for Europe, or for the Middle East, or for NATO, Vallely concluded.