US Using Turkey to Provoke Confrontation with Russia?

US Using Turkey to Provoke Confrontation with Russia?
by Stephen Lendman
Turkey’s Erdogan is a ruthless loose cannon, a valued US imperial ally, part of NATO’s killing machine – increasingly risking direct confrontation with Russia.
Washington likely orchestrated Turkey’s downing of Russia’s SU-24 bomber last month in Syrian airspace, a reckless act of war.
On December 11, Putin told participants at a Moscow Defense Ministry collegium: “I order to act very tough. Any targets that threaten Russian forces or our infrastructure on the ground should be immediately destroyed.”
He warned “those who will again try to organize any provocations against our servicemen. We have already taken additional measures to ensure security of Russian servicemen and air base.” 
“It was strengthened by new aviation groups and missile defense systems. Strike aircraft will now carry out operations under cover of fighter jets” armed with deadly accurate air-to-air missiles.
On Saturday, RT International reported Turkish opposition member Mahir Akkar urging Putin and Deputy Defense Minister Anotoly Antonov be criminally investigated for “insulting” and “defam(ing)” Erdogan.
RT quoted a Daily Sabah report, quoting him saying “we cannot turn a blind eye to defamation against our president or (other) officials.”
Putin, Antonov and other Russian officials support their accusations with well-documented hard facts.
On Friday, Ivanov provided clear evidence of “(a) whole team of bandits and Turkish leadership (under Erdogan and his family involved) in illegal oil trade with ISIS.”
He presented “irrefutable facts to prove it.” Erdogan and top Turkish officials around him are international criminals, involved in “industrial-scale” theft of Syrian and Iraqi oil, complicit with ISIS – along with partnering with Obama to replace Assad with a pro-Western puppet.
On Sunday, Erdogan’s latest provocation involved a Turkish fishing vessel (or perhaps military ship disguised to look like one) sailing on a collision course with a Russian destroyer in the Aegean Sea.
Moscow’s Defense Ministry said its ship fired small arms warning shots in front of Turkey’s vessel after it didn’t respond to calls to change course – finally doing so when it came within about 540 meters of the destroyer.
It never made contact, clearly a state-sponsored provocation with likely more to come. Putin gave fair warning. He always means what he says. Russia’s military has orders to destroy any threats to its air, ground or sea forces.
Tensions between both countries remain high. They maintain military contact to avoid these type incidents. Antonov summoned Turkey’s Moscow-based military attache to explain what happened.
Erdogan would never provoke Russia militarily without Washington’s permission or complicity. Both nations are playing with fire.
Putin is a consummate peacemaker. At the same time, he’ll do whatever it takes to protect Russia’s homeland, its population and military forces.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

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