Turkey has claimed that a Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber spent several seconds in its airspace on Friday and although these accusations have no merit there could be three possible reasons for Ankara to once again accuse Moscow of airspace violations that did not take place.
Ankara's claims might reflect a wish to influence the balance of power at the Geneva talks, which are aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis.
If the talks in Switzerland are successful, this would mean that Erdogan's foreign policy has failed, political scientist Yuri Pochta told Radio Sputnik. "Turkey's aspirations to take Syria and Iraq under its control could end in nothing, because Russia has made every effort to resolve the Syrian conflict."
The analyst maintains that Erdogan might even send troops across the border. Rumors have circulated for months that Ankara is planning to carry out a limited military campaign in northern Syria. Earlier this year, Turkish troops reportedly crossed the border near the Syrian city of Jarabulus.
In addition, by blaming Russia for what it did not do, Turkish authorities might also be trying to show that they are willing to protect the Syrian Turkmen. These are Syrians of Turkic heritage and identity, who have been fighting against Damascus-led forces.
In November, a Syrian Turkmen rebel boasted that he killed the pilot of the Russian Su-24 bomber, which was on an anti-Daesh mission in northern Syria when a Turkish fighter jet shot it down.
"The Syrian Arab Army has scored many victories in mountainous areas of Latakia, freeing the region of local militants, many of whom are Syrian Turkmen. Ankara's demands to leave them alone are not taken into account, while increasing amount of weapons that they receive from across the border with Turkey are not helping," the Expert Online analytical website observed.
Ankara's claims might also be an attempt to force the Russian president to talk to Erdogan. "Apparently, Erdogan has been unable to meet Putin, so he is using every opportunity," Russian lawmaker Leonid Kalashnikov told RIA Novosti, adding that these efforts are "naïve."
"Erdogan needs a meeting with Putin to save his face, to show that he is an equal partner," Pochta explained. "Erdogan has previously used this strategy: he is blackmailing the European Union, he is blackmailing the United States, he is blackmailing Russia at a time when he has no real resources for military and political contacts."
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