Two scenarios after the murder of Ambassador Karlov

After the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Ankara (Turkey) Andrey Karlov, the consequences could be deep and harsh following the warning created by the Russian-Turkish air clash a little more than a year ago in November 2015. The first observation is the apparent infiltration of the Turkish security forces since the assassin of Karlov would be a Turkish police officer born in 1994 and dispatched as a bodyguard for the Russian diplomat.

The second observation is the at least momentary aggravation of tensions between the Russian and Turkish governments after this extremely rare attack but of potentially considerable fallout. While Ambassador Karlov was known to have worked tirelessly towards the Russian-Turkish rapprochement, it appears that outside the top of the Turkish State – notably the presidency of Recep Tayyip Erdogan – there is no real unanimity in favor of it, chiefly considering the confrontation – at least theoretical – between the two countries in Syria where the next few days could prove decisive on the outcome of the conflict – with the likely victory of the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance.

The third observation is that only two main scenarios could follow such a dramatic development. First scenario: Russian-Turkish relations are deteriorating quickly again and increasing the risk of war between NATO and Russia; knowing that a majority of the citizens of NATO countries do not want the war against Russia, while even a significant portion of them wishes a lasting rapprochement between the West and Russia. Second scenario: Russian-Turkish relations are growing faster than expected and the United States is de facto excluded from the long-term Syrian equation; with Turkey even considering leaving NATO and thus punching a fatal blow to the relevance of the Atlantic alliance.

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