Preliminary Analysis: Turkish Air force Shoots Down Syrian Chopper
According to deputy PM Bulent Arinc, later confirmed by the HQ of Chiefs of Military Staff, a Syrian military chopper was shot down ”inside the Turkish airspace” by two Turkish Air Force F16s. The incident is new, with no announcement from Damascus as I write these lines; hence this is only a preliminary analysis subject to change.
Let’s cut to the chase: Is Ankara trying to provoke an attack from Syria in the hopes of luring Obama or NATO into retaliation? No, up to 75% of Turks object to war with Syria and with 6 months left to March local elections, Erdogan is very unlikely to dare Assad. I think this is either a genuine accident, as it is wont to happen when a military is forced to wait too long with its fingers on the trigger, or perhaps an attempt by Assad to test just how serious Turkey is to defend its borders. I have constantly claimed that the best war strategy for the Shia Axis to win in Syria is to discourage Erdogan from lending military and logistics support to Syrian rebels. Had Ankara not shot down the Syrian chopper, Assad might have dared to chase rebels across the Turkish border, or even bomb a few known al Nusra camps inside Turkey.
Nevertheless markets are likely to wait up to 48 hours to see how Damascus would respond. I learned that after Bulent Arinc’s explanation at around 6 pm Turkish time, the TL and bonds lost some value on screen trading. The affair may take some of the luster off the Turkish rally, but if my analysis is correct, it will have only a brief impact on sentiment.