Press TV has conducted an interview with William Jones, a member of the Executive Intelligence Review in Leesburg, to discuss Turkey’s deployment of troops to northern Iraq.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Is the situation, when it comes to Turkey, going to escalate as Russia, it seems, is not going to take Turkey’s recent action sitting down?
Jones: Well, obviously, the moves that Turks are taking in Iraq are directed against the Iraqi government [and] are a violation of Iraqi territory, but it is also part of a tit-for-tat that Erdogan is playing with Russian President Putin and it is a very dangerous move. Obviously, it could lead to military conflict with engagement of Iraqi forces if Turkey does not come to some kind of withdrawal here. But it is also a possibility of leading to further conflict between Turkey and Russia and when we are looking at that, [in fact] we are looking at the engagement of one nuclear power and another which is a part of an alliance to another nuclear coalition. So the world is looking at a very dangerous situation being played right now.
Press TV: Right now if Russia does take of course Turkey to the UN Security Council (UNSC), what do you think is going to come out of it?
Jones: Well, it depends on a couple of things. One is of course what evidence the Russians have with regard to the Turkish president’s involvement or the involvement of his family in selling oil to the ISIS. The other thing of course is what happened with the incident if it was a fact that they did shoot it down [Russian warplane] without sufficient warning and without informing authorities and trying to avoid a shoot down. Then, that is a very serious situation in itself which should be a discussion of the Security Council, which has the duty to try and maintain peace and to prevent war between members of the United Nations (UN).
Press TV: In the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), wouldn’t Turkey’s allies like the US stand up for it?
Jones: Well, right now the US has pretty much given a lot of cover to Turkey on this issue; however, there is a lot of concern, you notice that of course the Russian position is quite clear, but you also notice that there have been statements coming out of the Chinese foreign ministry with regard to a number of things that are happening now in this dispute between Russia and Turkey and between Russia and the Unites States. So I think there will be a serious debate; I think the United States will try and bend over backwards to prevent this becoming a rift with its Turkish ally, but if all the cards are on the table and there is evidence of wrongdoing here I think it is going to be very difficult for the US to completely come out and cover for its Turkish counterpart without discrediting itself entirely.
Press TV: Turkey has been deliberately taking actions that have increased tensions in the region that is deployment of troops in Iraq, the downing of the Russian plane. Do you think that Turkey is making one strategic mistake after another or are these calculated steps?
Jones: Well, I think it is a policy of gross ignorance and arrogance that Turkey wants to enhance its own position in the region. I think the deployment of the troops in what is an Iraqi territory allegedly to defend troops against ISIL and to be a force target against ISIL is also not credible since I think what Turkey is doing is trying to intervene in territory and prevent an increase of territory by the Kurdish fighters who have proven to be the best military against ISIL and so that their moves are targeted in a multi-targeted way against Iraq, against Russia as well as against the Kurds and I think it is really indefensible and it is an arrogance of power that should be exposed quickly in order to avoid it leading to a greater conflict.