Turkey, a longtime geopolitical hotspot, has recently played a key role in the struggle for influence between regional and Western powers over NATO missile deployments – Ankara is once again at the center of a global crisis.
What prompted this new crisis (and evoked a distinct feeling of Cold War déjà vu) was Ankara’s appeal to NATO to deploy its Patriot missiles in the southern Turkish provinces, along the 900-km-long border with Syria. While described as a purely defensive move, aimed at enhancing Turkish security in the wake of the escalating Syrian war and alleged possibility of a chemical weapons attack by the cornered President Assad, the initiative was denounced straight away by Ankara’s neighbors and other regional powers – Moscow, Tehran and Damascus.
“Moscow was wary of the NATO anti-aircraft system’s deployment in Turkey,” Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov said last week during talks with the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Knud Bartles.
Remarks were echoed by Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aleksandr Lukashevich, who warned last Friday that “the stockpile of extra weapons” in the border area would “bring about an additional element of tension."