(JNS.org) The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, on Tuesday warned of the risk of a “hot war” between Russia and Turkey.
“We are always referring to Syria as a proxy war among regional actors. This risks to become something bigger than this. I’m not thinking of a cold war. No, we risk a hot war among different actors than the one we always think of. Not necessarily Russia and the United States, but Russia and Turkey, could be. And, as Europeans, we have a clear interest in trying to contain and scale down the tensions,” Mogherini said during a debate at the EU Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Reuters reported.
Tensions between Russia and Turkey boiled over late last year when Turkey in November shot down a Russian warplane that had repeatedly violated Turkish airspace, authorities claimed. Turkey, a member of NATO, has long called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—who Russia supports—to step down. But Russian forces have intervened in the Syrian civil war in support of the Syrian government.
At the same time, Russia has accused Turkey of tacitly supporting the Islamic State terror group by allowing it to sell oil on black markets in Turkey, as well as enabling the transit of new fighters into Syria.
Russia and the United States recently announced plans for a cease-fire in Syria to take effect on Feb. 27.