Only days after Turkey's fatal shoot-down of a Russian warplane, the European Union announces it is giving the Ankara government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan 3 billion in a "deal" allegedly aimed at halting the flow of refugees to the EU.
At best, the EU is bumbling in a completely misguided way to tackle the refugee crisis stemming from the Syrian conflict; at worst, and more accurately, the European bloc is effectively rewarding Turkey for an act of state terrorism.
This crass move by Brussels will serve to embolden the Ankara regime in its criminal policy of fuelling regime change in Syria. It will also deepen the EU's complicity in a criminal war of aggression on Syria. While European citizens are suffering economic austerity, soaring poverty and unemployment their governments see fit to indulge the Ankara regime with 3 billion ($3.4 billion).
Let's get some facts straight. Russia's Ministry of Defence has released objective flight data which shows beyond doubt that on November 24, Turk F-16 fighter jets violated the Syrian border and fired an air-to-air missile at a Russian Su-24 bomber. The Russian aircraft was at all times within Syrian territory and posed no threat to Turkey's security.
The Russian data also shows that two Turkish F-16s were already in the air in the location. The timely presence of a Turkish film crew and Syrian militia on the ground awaiting the Russian jet crash also substantiates claims by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that this was a "planned ambush" that resulted in the brutal killing of a Russian pilot and later a Russian soldier attempting a rescue mission.
On the same day -- Sunday -- that the EU announced its 3 billion payout to Turkey, the Ankara regime said it was making arrangements to send back the corpse of the Russian pilot to Moscow. The airman was slain by radical Islamist Turkmen militia in northern Syria as he parachuted to the ground -- a gross war crime. The fact that the pilot's remains were hauled across the border and ended up in the custody of the Turk authorities is one more proof that the Ankara regime of Recep Erdogan is working hand-in-hand with illegally armed groups inside Syria.
The Turk shoot-down of the Russian jet was thus an act of aggression, an act of war, or more bluntly, a thuggish bout of state terrorism.
This is only the tip of a vile iceberg. The rightwing authoritarian Erdogan regime has been running a giant racket of oil smuggling and weapons supply to the jihadist mercenaries in Syria. These mercenaries are state-sponsored terrorists fighting a criminal covert war for regime change against the elected government of President Bashar al-Assad. This regime-change war is orchestrated by Washington, Britain and France, along with Turkey and the Gulf Arab dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Owing to Turkey's shared border with Syria, Ankara has played a particularly significant role in funnelling weapons and mercenaries into Syria. Paid in part by crude oil stolen by the terror groups from Syrian state-owned oilfields.
Independent Turk media have uncovered this oil-for-arms racket, from as early as two years ago. The editor of Cumhuriyet newspaper, Can Dundar, was last weekend arrested on charges of "treason" and "spying" because he published articles which proved that Turk state intelligence has been ferrying convoys of heavy weapons into Syria. The editor and another colleague are facing up to 45 years in prison.
The arrests of the journalists are just part of a general crackdown by Erdogan's regime against other newspapers and social media outlets that dare to circulate verifiable articles exposing the gun-running racket. This is the conduct of a despotic regime -- a regime which is being feted by the European Union, as the handshakes and smiling faces in Brussels at the weekend attest to, on top of a fat cheque for 3 billion. So much for European values of "freedom of speech."
Indisputably, Russia's military intervention in Syria -- on behalf of the Damascus government as permitted under international law -- was the motive for why Turkey perpetrated its aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin called it a "stab in the back."
Russia's air power, in conjunction with Syrian army ground forces, has been annihilating the Western, Arab, Turk conspiracy against Syria. Russian warplanes have decimated the illegal oil trade and the weapons-supply routes from Turkey into Syria. Erdogan and his son, Bilal, are personally involved and profiting from the oil-for-weapons racket. The Russian damage inflicted was intolerable and so Erdogan regime lashed out. It remains to be seen if Washington had a hand in the dirty deed.
No doubt many of the displaced are genuine cases of people fleeing from war zones. Nevertheless, there is abundant evidence to show that camps are being used as training and repair centres for mercenaries under the auspices of the Turk authorities. Erdogan's 34-year-old daughter Sumeyye reportedly runs a hospital in Turkey's southeast province of Sanluirfa. But this is not a medical centre for civilian refugees. It is where wounded mercenaries get patched up.
There are also camps in Turkey's southwestern provinces of Hatay and Adana where Turk, American CIA and other NATO special forces are involved in training jihadists like the Turkmen who butchered the Russian pilot last week.
The notion that Turkey is generously tending to the refugees out of humanitarian concern is a cynical ruse.