Guest Post: Why Is The US Hanging Turkey Out To Dry?

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Andrew Korybko via,

Turkey’s shooting down of the Russian anti-ISIL aircraft was an unprecedentedly direct aggression against Moscow that trumps even the tense and hostile militarism of the Old Cold War era. The world stands on edge in the immediate aftermath of this attack, with tabloid-esque commentators warning that the beginning of World War III awaits. President Putin, for his part, has been much more measured in responding to the incident, but still couldn’t contain his shock at having received this “stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists.”

The question now comes down to how Russia will respond to what happened, but perhaps even more important for observers to ponder is why the US is unofficially distancing itself from its ally’s aggression. Despite both NATO and Obama giving full backing to Turkey’s fateful decision, Reuters has quoted an anonymous American military official that purposely leaked that the Russian plane was downed while over Syrian airspace, basing the assessment on heat signature detection. This raises questions about why the US is playing both sides of the fence – on one hand, publicly supporting Turkey, while on the other, strategically releasing information that conflicts with Turkey’s official depiction of events.

The Setup:

This dichotomy is suggestive of a Machiavellian plan whereby the US manipulates both Turkey and Russia into behaving according to what it has already forecast as their most likely responses, knowing full well that these could be guided into supporting grander American strategic interests. For starters, the US likely intimated to Erdogan that not only does he have the ‘legal’ right to shoot down any Russian aircraft he chooses, but that the US would actually prefer for him to take this course of action sooner than later. This is reminiscently similar to how the US put Sakkashvili up to bombing Tskhinval and invading South Ossetia – it may not have directly issued an official, on-paper order for this to occur, but it left no ambiguity as to how it wanted its proxy to act in each situation.

According To Plan:

For the most part, this explains the public pronouncements of NATO and the US’ support for Turkey’s actions, and it also goes a long way in soothing Erdogan’s nerves and reassuring him that he did the right thing. The predicted aftereffect of the plane’s downing was an immediate deterioration of Russian-Turkish relations, with the full consequences potentially affecting the diplomatic, military, economic, and energy spheres. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cancelled his upcoming trip to Turkey and advised Russian tourists to refrain from visiting the country due to the terrorism level being similar to Egypt’s. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has spoken about the possibility of barring Turkish companies from the Russian market and cancelling planned nuclear and gas projects with the country.



All of these prospective actions are fully justifiable and grounded in the self-respect that Russia feels in not aiding what has proven itself to be a militantly hostile state no matter the economic stakes involved, but at the same time, one can’t help but wonder whether this is exactly what the US wanted. There’s no doubt that Russia would react this way, as even a cursory glance of its potential ‘response toolkit’ indicates that these are the most likely to be taken amidst any deterioration of relations. Therefore, it can’t be discounted that the US put Erdogan up to shooting down the Russian jet precisely to provoke the predictable Russian response in threatening to cancel its forthcoming energy projects with Turkey, the core of the strategic partnership between the two. If this is the case, and it certainly seems likely, then it shows exactly how far the US is willing to go to make sure that Russian energy (and subsequently, all of the soft power and multipolar advantages that come with it) doesn’t enter the Balkans through the Turkish Stream megaproject, likely because it understands the transformative impact that this would eventually have on the entire region.

The Curveball:

Thus far, everything seems reasonable and well within the realm of predictability, but the curveball comes with the Reuters revelation that an unnamed American military source is essentially saying that the Russian position is justified. Unexpectedly, it now seems as though the US is also playing to Russia’s side to an extent, and this raises questions about what it really wants. After all, it’s been proven beyond any doubt that American-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles were used to down the Russian rescue helicopter that attempted to retrieve the two pilots. With this indisputable evidence of indirect American aggression against Russia, it certainly is a curious fact that the US establishment would purposely leak a statement saying that the Turkey downed the Russian plane in Syrian airspace, and basically take Russia’s side on this behind the scenes.

Playing The Kurdish Card:

Explaining this diplomatic twist requires knowledge about the popular response that Russian citizens and global supporters worldwide are requesting to Turkey’s aggression. They quite reasonably propose that Russia intensify its arms shipments to anti-ISIL Kurdish fighters, with the wink-and-a-nod approval that some of them would be siphoned off to the PKK and be used against the Turkish military. This is an effective and pragmatic plan, and in reality, it actually doesn’t even require a policy shift from Moscow because support is already being rendered to some Kurdish groups as part of their joint cooperation in the anti-ISIL struggle. The Kurdish Insurgency hasn’t gone away since Erdogan unwittingly unearthed it this summer as an electioneering tool, and the fact that it’s still going strong even after the elections has scared him so much that he might have been the one who ordered the recent assassination attempt against pro-Kurdish HDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas. Thus, if Russia chooses to inflict an asymmetrical response to Turkey by beefing up its indirect support for the PKK and other Turkish-based anti-government Kurds or disrupting Blue Stream gas supplies in order to provoke an intensified rebellion, then it could certainly inflict a heavy amount of strategic damage to Erdogan and increase the likelihood either of a military coup in Turkey (explained more in detail as part of a different article accessible here) and/or the creation of an independent Kurdistan.

That being said, the US has traditionally been the out-of-regional power that has the greatest interest in Kurdistan, seeing the possible state as a ‘geopolitical Israel’ from which it can simultaneously exert influence on the rump portions of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The strategic trajectory of a theorized Kurdish state has been complicated by the anti-ISIL campaign, however, since many Kurds have shown themselves to be pragmatic in cooperating with Russia and Iran against this shared threat. The positive multipolar cooperation that each of these countries has engaged in with the Kurds challenges the US’ planned hegemony over them and their territory, and it thus means that any forthcoming independent Kurdish political entity could theoretically go either towards the multipolar or the unipolar camps. At this point in time, and given all of the dynamic military and diplomatic developments of the past couple of months, the loyalty of a future Kurdish state (no matter if its boundaries are confined only to present-day Turkey and/or Iraq) is totally up for grabs, and it’s impossible to accurately forecast which way it will go.

Kurdish women' 'Peshmerga' batallions cause horror among ISIS gangs in Syria.

Kurdish women’ ‘Peshmerga’ batallions cause horror among ISIS gangs in Syria.

The strategic ambiguity that this entails means a few things to the US and Russia. For the US, it indicates that the time is now for it to bunker down and support Kurdistan’s independence before it loses the strategic initiative to Russia, which might be moving in this direction (whether formally or informally) out of grand geopolitical spite for Turkey. Moscow, as was just mentioned, seems inclined to hit Ankara where it hurts most, and that’s through supporting the Kurdish Insurgency in one way or another. However, it’s not yet known how far this would go, and whether Russia would pursue this strategy as a form of short-term vengeance or if it would resolutely go as far in recognizing Kurdish Independence if it could ever be de-facto actualized. Of course, Russia wouldn’t do anything that could endanger the territorial integrity of its Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian allies, but if the Turkish-based Kurds contained their ambitions solely within the borders of Russia’s historical rival, then it might be able to rectify itself with this reality, especially if they even refrain from legal independence and instead seek a sort of broadly de-facto independent federative or autonomous status within a unified Turkey (which could only realistically be brought about by an intensified insurgency and/or a coup in Ankara).

Joining Hands For Kurdistan:

Having explained all of this, it’s now clear that a remarkable convergence of strategic interests has developed between the US and Russia focusing on Turkish-administered Kurdistan. Understanding the changing calculations that Russia may now be having towards this topic as a response to Turkey’s aggression against it, one can’t necessarily preclude the possibility that the Reuters leak was actually a strategic overture to Russia. Washington might be sending a signal that it wants to speak to Moscow about ways to cooperate in this regard, knowing that each of them possibly have an interest now in seeing the proto-state rise to the fore of the global arena. A shared understanding has likely developed by now that a New Cold War competition for Kurdistan’s loyalty could be fought after the entity is legally formalized (whether as an independent state or a de-facto independent sub-state entity modeled off of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq), and that the two Great Powers need to put aside some of their differences in joining hands to see this happen first.

Such a strong signal could have been discretely and secretly communicated to Russia via secure diplomatic and intelligence channels, but the reason it was so publicly broadcast via Reuters, the global newswire service, is because the US also wants to send a signal to Turkey as well. Despite taking its side on the matter before the global eye, the US is also “stabbing its ally in the back”, to channel President Putin, by purposely leaking the information that the Russian jet was shot down over Syrian airspace. It’s not news that the US has been unhappy with Erdogan for not behaving more submissively in the past and refusing to blindly go along with the previous plans to invade Syria (rendered useless after Russia’s anti-terrorist military intervention there), so it might be trying to convey the message it’s had enough of his games and is now playing their own in return. Of course, the US has always been manipulating Turkey ever since it joined NATO and allowed the Americans to operate out of Incirlik airbase, but this time, the treachery is being taken to a higher level by implicitly throwing out suggestions to Russia, Turkey’s new foe (and only because the US manipulated Turkey into taking aggressive action against it), that it might want to team up in undermining Ankara’s control over its volatile southeast.

Concluding Thoughts:

It can safely be assumed that the US influenced Turkey into shooting down the Russian jet over Syrian airspace, predicting quite accurately that this would immediately lead to the deterioration of ties between the two states. An elementary forecast of the specific counter-measures that Russia may take stipulates that these will likely relate to the diplomatic, economic, and energy sectors, which is just what the US wants. Because of Turkey’s aggression against Russia, the strategic partnership between the two is now broken (although not necessarily irreversibly), and Ankara has become the fourth and perhaps most geopolitically significant member of the anti-Russian Intermarum coalition. Furthermore, Turkish Stream looks to be indefinitely put on hold, thus delaying Russia’s game-changing pivot to the Balkans. While the ‘unintended’ consequence of the crisis has been Russia’s foreseeable and absolutely legitimate decision to deploy the S-400 SAM system to Syria, this in a way also plays to the manipulated Turkish-Russian rivalry that the US wanted to produce in order to solidify the completion of the Intermarum project and simultaneously counter Russia’s growing influence in the Mideast.

The reaction that no one could have predicted, however, is the US purposely leaking comments to Reuters that support the Russian version of events, namely, that the anti-terrorist jet was shot down while flying over Syrian airspace. This completely conflicts with what the US and NATO have said in public, but it shows that the US has had enough time to game out the plane-shooting scenario well in advance, and that it’s playing a sinister divide-and-conquer game against Turkey and Russia. Put in the position where its decision makers are scrambling for responses to the unprecedented aggression against them, Russia can now more easily be led into supporting the Kurdish struggle for sovereignty (whether formally independent or de-facto so) in Turkey, which coincides with one of the US’ premier geopolitical projects.

From an American perspective, a divided Turkey is doubly useful for its grand strategic designs, as the large pro-NATO Turkish military would remain mostly intact, while the US could gain a major base for force projection (both hard and soft) right in between some of the most important states in the region. It can’t, however, go fully forward with this project unless it has the support of the diplomatic leader of the multipolar world, Russia, otherwise Kurdistan will be just as illegitimate as Kosovo is and might not even come to geopolitical fruition if Moscow and Tehran work to stop it.

Seen from the Russian standpoint, the US’ intimations actually seen quite attractive. An increase of Russian support to anti-ISIL Kurdish fighters would be a plausibly deniable but strategically obvious way to funnel weapons and equipment to anti-Turkish PKK insurgents. Weakening Turkey from within would be a strong asymmetrical response to a country that has lately been a major thorn in Moscow’s side, and it might create the conditions either for a military coup against Erdogan, a divide between him and Davutoglu (which could be used to Russia’s diplomatic advantage so long as the constitution remains unchanged and Davutoglu legally remains more powerful than Erdogan), or a weakening of Erdogan and a tempering of his anti-Russian and anti-Syrian positions.

Importantly, the emergence of an independent or semi-independent Kurdish entity in Turkey could create a tempting piece of geopolitical real estate in the New Cold War, but of course, it would then be contested between the multipolar and unipolar worlds. Still, however, it would represent a positive multipolar development in the Mideast, since under the present state of affairs, the entirety of Turkish territory is under unipolar control. If a large chunk of it suddenly became the object of competition between both blocs, then it would definitely signify a strategic advancement at the expense of unipolarity. Of equal importance, this would also significantly impact on the Turkish state and whatever government is in power by that time, and it could possibly make it more amenable to returning to the previously pragmatic relationship with Russia and perhaps even resurrecting Turkish Stream.

Therefore, Russia surprisingly has nothing to lose and everything to gain by covertly supporting the Kurdish cause in Turkey, no matter if it’s full-out independence or relatively more restrained autonomy, and even if this is objective is shared by the US and done in semi-coordination with it. Turkey would immediately be put on the defensive (although it could try desperately responding by supporting Tatar terrorists in Crimea), the multipolar world have a chance at competing for the loyalty of an ultra-strategically positioned entity, and the consequences that this has for the Turkish government (whether it remains the same or is changed via a [military] coup) could recreate the political conditions for Turkish Stream’s feasibility.

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gladius17's picture
gladius17 (not verified) J S Bach Nov 25, 2015 9:45 PM

I think Vlad is pulling the strings here. He set this up and somehow tricked Turkey into shooting down that jet, knowing that Turkey/NATO would look like total assholes on the world stage, with their lame attempt to justify it based on "being in Turkish airspace." Which seems completely ridiculous, what with the tiny slice of Turkey that they supposedly overflew, and especially with the rebels supposedly killing the pilots as they parachuted down, and then shooting down the rescue copter with a TOW.

How much of that actually happened, and how much was the work of a talented film crew? Are Hollywood the only film makers at work in the middle east?

This comes less than a week after the "thanks for the TOWs! love ISIS" video which was supposedly released by the rebels. But why would the rebels do such a colosally stupid thing? Does the U.S. regularly allow its secretly-assisted allies to post up videos loudly bragging about the weapons they're getting? Hmm.

Maybe there is a talented Russian film crew at work out there, and maybe they just succeeded in winning yet another propaganda victory for Russia.

The U.S. is trying to distance itself from Turkey because they're trying (unsuccessfully) not to get snared in Vlad's trap.


SafelyGraze's picture

it is as though all the other countries are being kneecapped By Design!!

the wolfowitzers 

well. almost all the other countries.

Money Counterfeiter's picture
Money Counterfeiter (not verified) SafelyGraze Nov 25, 2015 9:56 PM

If Russia withholds any energy supplies the Turkish economy will go into inflation mode and the unpopular regime will be gone to be replaced by…


Playing it safe.  

Baby Bladeface's picture
Baby Bladeface (not verified) fleur de lis Nov 25, 2015 10:23 PM

Only the giblets...

0b1knob's picture

< Hung out to dry for turkey jerky.

< Deep fried in peanut oil.


How do you prefer your turkey?

wee-weed up's picture



"This raises questions about why the US is playing both sides of the fence..."

The US Gov't ALWAYS plays both sides of the fence!

knukles's picture

Because the US is a bad partner?

Main_Sequence's picture
Main_Sequence (not verified) knukles Nov 25, 2015 11:03 PM

The shooting down of the Russia's SU-24 that had allegedly crossed into Turkish airspace was highly likely architected by the USSA and executed directly by CIA assets to drive a wedge between Russia and Turkey to further isolate Russia, and try to prevent any construction of natural gas pipelines from Russia via Turkey, that will eventually feed into Europe.

Due to Turkey's geo-strategic location between the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia for gas pipelines, Turkey becomes the lynchpin for controlling the entire energy distribution network across the aforementioned regions.

DeadFred's picture

Whoa! Who says this un-named military official was doing what the Kenyan guy wanted? There are a lot of them left who detest him and some even remember that their oaths were to the constitution. Not much left of it but that's what they swore to protect.

r0mulus's picture

exactly. the author is jumping to conclusions and offering little evidence to back up their assertions on this point.

Roanman's picture


Is it you?

Cuz if it ain't you, we have another just magnificent troll among us ..... or an equally magnificent drooling moron.

Anonymous User's picture
Anonymous User (not verified) Roanman Nov 26, 2015 7:39 AM

Because the US is the stupid goyim doing the dirtywork for the moneylender tribe. 

Always ask "Cui bono"?

Main_Sequence's picture
Main_Sequence (not verified) Main_Sequence Nov 26, 2015 1:37 AM

I wish there was a timestamp for the post at the link below, since I called it earlier.

Moscow Warns CIA, Not Turkey, Downed Russian Fighter Plane Over Syria:


The Navigator's picture

America always fucks over their "friends".

It's only when you're their enemy that you know where you stand.

After 60 years on this spinning globe and having lived and seen from abroad, it's all a lie, American Pie, American Dream.

SixIsNinE's picture

 spinning globe ... lies ... spinning globe ... lies ...

look it up  NASA lies  .... NASA   lies ...

Welder's picture

I'd love to see the Turks driven out of Asia Minor back to the steppes of Central Asia where they came from. And Istanbul's name changed back to Constantinople. It's a nice piece of real estate. Strategic too. 

Nexus789's picture

The Washington degenerates are perfidious to the core

Coke and Hookers's picture

This is an interesting analysis though. The only real action the US has apparently taken against ISIS is to support the Kurdish offensive. It seems clear that the US has some sort of plan for future Kurdistan and that ain't the same plan Turkey has. This discrepancy has gotten little attention so far. It makes sense that the US is grooming Kurdistan as a future client state in the area. The Kurds have been semi allied with Iran and Assad for a long time and neutralizing that would be a major bonus.

r0mulus's picture

I don't buy the argument in this article.

The leaking of info to the media by the US general does not necessarily signify the desire of the US to undercut Turkey- it just as easily could suggest a power struggle between elite circles within the overall power structure, or it could simply be a whistleblower coming forward.

The author seems to have jumped to conclusions with their assertion regarding the intention of the leak.

BarkingCat's picture

Why do you assume it was a general?
Could be a Lt. Colonel or a Colonel.
If it's someone below a general then there is
a higher chance he did this for righteous reasons.

r0mulus's picture

very true I misread- it just says "unnamed military official". definitely widens the pool of potential leakers.

maxamus's picture

Why are you so insensitive to those that have peanut allergies?  The PC police will arrest and beat you!!!!

fleur de lis's picture

NATO is hellbent for a war with Russia.

Notice how none of the other NATO club members dare to rough up the Russians. But they needed a point man so they somehow convinced Turkey to shoot down a fighter jet. They must have promised something very sweet to the Turks. What could go wrong?

Did they mention that the FSA, ISIS, etc., would be on the ground waiting? And the cold blooded murder of a Russian pilot was part of the deal? And that their kinfolk the ethnic Turkmen would be so stupid as to boast about it on video for all the world to see?

Now the Turks realize that they have been poisoned. And they have been abandoned by their NATO friends and left to face a very angry bear all alone. The Turks had better wake up and realize that they have never been respected by NATO and are considered expendable by Western warmongers.

TahoeBilly2012's picture

Lots of complex angels here, it could have just been a clusterfuck is all . Turkey is pissed Russia is fighting and winning in it's backyard, that's all. They have completely lost face as has everyone else, so the followed the jets and took a pop at one when it was close to the border, end of story. I don't think anyone had any plans for this, it was an emotional gamble.

BarkingCat's picture

You write as if Turkey is an single individual and that individual was flying that plane.
The F16 pilots had to had had an authorization to engage a Russian jet.
They did not make this decision in the heat of the moment.

Perimetr's picture

It's hard for me to imagine that the US would deliberately create a policy that would deceive one of its allies, which could lead to the destruction of that nation as a functioning state.

Wait . . . .

DeeZ_nutZ's picture

oh, really?  is that how it is?  try flying by st. petersburg for like.... say 17 seconds and see what happens.  you see, russians have not intercepted a single nato craft in their airspace in the past, well, let's many years.  however, there are reports of russian bombers or fighter jets fucking with other people's airspace on daily basis, including fucking with air traffic control in sweden and putting commercial liners in direct danger of collision, etc.  you got no clue in your unconditional love for putin, buddy.

boattrash's picture

I don't recall the U.S. downing Russian aircraft when the "brush" our airspace in Alaska either...

i_call_you_my_base's picture

I don't know how you trick someone into shooting down your jet. Seems like NATO made the decision here. I just think they are pissed that Russia is destroying NATO's isis friends.

gladius17's picture

"I don't know how you trick someone into shooting down your jet."

The same way Iran tricked that U.S. drone into landing in the middle of the desert a while back.


What, you thought the Iranians developed GPS spoofing technology all by themselves?

Don't forget that Russia has many more assets (i.e. spies), many of whom are probably working in Turkey, and have been waiting for the right moment to help Turkey make the wrong decision.

"I just think they are pissed that Russia is destroying NATO's isis friends."

If Turkey purposely decided to shoot down the jet  due to "anger", did they gain or lose by this action?

What makes you think Turkey's government is in the habit of making such stupid mistakes due to emotional outbursts?

BarkingCat's picture

>>»>What makes you think Turkey's government is in the habit of making such stupid mistakes due to emotional outbursts?<<<<<

Because in general Turks aren't the brightest bulbs in the chandelier.

ZenMoment's picture

"If Turkey purposely decided to shoot down the jet  due to "anger", did they gain or lose by this action?

What makes you think Turkey's government is in the habit of making such stupid mistakes due to emotional outbursts?"


Uhhh, yeah.... I do think they would purposely decide to shoot down a Russian jet out of "anger". Russia is helping their enemy Assad. On top of which, he is bombing/killing rebel Turk groups that are fighting assad.

Killing Turks + helping their greatest enemy = "anger" = jet shot down.

Buck Johnson's picture

Putins not dumb and neither is his people.  They see what the US is attempting in not just this front but other fronts and they have made  the US look like fools.  He won't attack Turkey now or any allies, he's allowing them to continue to attack his planes.  Eventually he will use their missile defense to shoot down a NATO plane by mistake and try to say that Turkey kept attacking their assets and your plane US or France or whatever was in the crossfire of us defending our forces. 

Putin knows that Russia is the target of the US and the west and everything that is being done is to get at them.  So Putin is taking the fight to our "assets" and try to derail our system in the middleeast. 


Winston Churchill's picture

As I said on the other article, I'm begining to think that shooting down the jet was aimed

at getting the S400's deployed. The west doesn't want anymore Russian surprises like

the radar jamming tech Breedlove keeps whining about.

No way this pre planned ambush was not OKed by Uncle Scam.

Deploying 400's instead of the nearly obsolete S300's may have been a mistake.

jaxville's picture

  The vid of the FSA (or whatever) guy firing the tow at the helicopter did not show that it had been abondoned by its crew.  What a waste of a $70,000 missile and the helicopter that could have easily been captured.  Those FSA (or whatever) guys are definately not the sharpest tools in the shed.

beaglebog's picture



I saw a video of a man firing a TOW.


Then, the scene cut.


And I saw a video of a helicopter exploding.


The two events may, or may not, be related.

stitch-rock's picture

Vlad and Obama....Hulk vs Rowdie Roddy Piper

All wars are banker wars

Thom_333's picture

Because the Moslem-In-Chief has overplayed his hand. No one gives a damn anymore about the fact that he is a mulatto and have stopped their Pavlovian response a.k.a "white guilt".

The U.S. armed forces seem to have had enough and have already participated in a silent revolt when they refused to be Al Qaidas Air Force , etc.

No amount of race baiting or attempts to provoke a race conflict is going to change this. If it´s an armed conflict along race lines that the Moslem-In-Chief is pressing for...there´s a good many willing to take him up on that offer.

I am your Huckleberry...will be the new slogan .

Let´s get it on.


Noplebian's picture
Noplebian (not verified) J S Bach Nov 26, 2015 7:09 AM
WW3 – Turkey/ISIS/Russia – The Countdown Has Begun......

Everybodys All American's picture

From my perspective I see the military increasingly at odds with the administration over Syrian policy.

Omega_Man's picture

usa gives arms to what? Russia was already giving arms to kurds last month

DeeZ_nutZ's picture

giving arms to each other is like a friendly blowjob these days.  big fucking deal.  russians gave guns to eastern ukraine and acted like they had no clue.  obama only today signed a 300 mil deal to provide ukes with arms.  too little too late, but still woud be put to a good use. 

we are living in proxy war type world now.  russias bombed the shit out of turkish trucks today.  cool.  don't be surprised that tomorrow kurds will have airdefence and will start taking russians out of the skies afganistan style.