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From Ukraine to Gaza and Syria, Skies Around Turkey Get Increasingly Dangerous And Hopes Dim

July 25th, 2014
topics:Humans
by:Emre Kizilkaya
located in:Israel, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine
tags:BUK, Gaza, Israel, MH-17, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine

Israel started a ground offensive in Gaza, only hours before a Boeing 777 belonged to Malaysia Airlines was shot down in eastern Ukraine. The common denominator of these two dangerous developments which already costed so many innocent lives is that they made the Turkish air space a safe corridor between large areas in north and south of Turkey. In other words, Turkey is now surrounded by a larger air space considered dangerous.

Turkish Airlines was one of the first companies announcing its planes would steer clear of east Ukrainian air space, among others like the U.S. airlines and Lufthansa.
These airlines can be criticized for delaying the life-saving (but financially-costly) decision until the shooting down of Flight MH-17. However, as we have more facts now, we're seeing that the latest incident was not that likely.
Yes, we know that the Donetsk rebels have been using Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) for a while, but the altitude that Flight MH-17 was shot down is apparently beyond the range of this weapon system. Only a larger anti-air missileor a fighter jet could have shot it down.
Ukrainian interior minister, Anton Gerashenko, says the plane was "hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher."
Interestingly, this is the same Russian-made weapon system that was suggested once as the one that shot down a Turkish military aircraft off Syria in June 2012.
As I had explained then, Ankara had accused Syria of firing a Russian-made missile over international waters and the Syrian regime had claimed that the Turkish plane was shot down by an anti-aircraft gun in the Syrian air space. After two years, we still don't know the truth.
I am concerned that today's horrible crime in Ukraine will never be fully explained to the public nor the perpetrators will be brought to account, like it happened with the incident off Syria two years ago. Similarly, the likelihood of those who killed the four Gaza children yesterday being punished by Israel is low for the same reason.
After all, both incidents are too entangled with the ongoing global power play, like the Gaza problem, and the current stalemate on the international arena makes it even harder for the truth to be revealed, especially when it can hurt both sides in a system where parts have become too dependent to each other.
Emre Kizilkaya is an Istanbul-based journalist. He is the Vice President of the Turkish National Committee of Vienna-based International Press Institute and the Managing Editor of Hürriyet Daily News, the English-language edition of Turkey’s largest newspaper. His blog, The Istanbulian, is the first English-language blog of a Turkish journalist who works for a major newspaper in Turkey.
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Emre Kizilkaya
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© CBS News
Israeli ground offensive gaza strip (screenshot)
Israeli ground offensive gaza strip (screenshot)
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© The Guardian
Israeli air strike on Gaza beach leaving for children dead and another seriously injured (screenshot)
Israeli air strike on Gaza beach leaving for children dead and another seriously injured (screenshot)
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