It is important to have a prudent and holistic approach in international relations. It is expectable that a country may not be capable of seeing every detail in every incident, thus it has to act with reason before taking steps. Otherwise, it might miss the big picture and take actions, which may have devastating consequences it would regret. The unwelcome incident Russia and Turkey faced on November 24th is one of those matters and should be evaluated from this perspective. To reverse this crisis, a great task falls on the relevant countries.
First of all, I would like to give my condolences to the Russian pilot who lost his life during this undesired occurrence. I pray no similar shattering incidents to take place ever again in the future and that both countries recover from this worrying situation without any damage. Even though the incident in question was a result of the internationally accepted rules of engagement, as my personal view, it is by no means acceptable for me to approve such measures that are likely to cause death and that would pause a threat to the lives of both pilots and people on the ground. We should always find a way to solve issues alike via diplomacy as the security of the citizens is of utmost importance.
Since the incident is still fresh, leaders from both sides may utter statements out of excitement or anger or with the urge of protecting their people. However, it is crucially important to be reasonable, act with conscience and give mutual amicable messages not to raise tension because it is what the region needs the least among these hot moments of the continuing conflicts.
We have always stated the importance of Russian collaboration with Turkey with regards to peace and stability in the region through our articles that appeared in international media and through live television appearances. We have continuously stated that Russia should not be isolated during the times of crises and drew attention to the fact that Turkey did not take part on the sanctions that were imposed to them because harming and punishing the people would not generate a desired solution.
It is common to counter strained relations between countries but the wise thing to do is not to make much of such situations and refrain from taking steps that would escalate tension but endorse moderate and tranquil tone towards each other. Additionally, the incident at issue is not something that concerns only the relevant countries but the entire world given the important positions they both hold. We should let the bygones be bygones and we need to move towards new horizons. It is noteworthy to mention President Rouhani’s statement he gave in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday at this sensitive period: “Russia and Turkey are both friend and neighbor of the Islamic Republic of Iran and it is important for us that our neighbors have friendly ties.” Furthermore, both President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif urged Russia and Turkey to show restraint. These declarations from Iranian leaders are uttered with a very beautiful Muslim language. If Turkey and Russia escalate the tension by deviating from the moderate tone, this would deal a blow to their people. Iran can be the key player in managing this crisis and be the negotiator to end this tension. This is not a situation any of the involved parties would benefit from. If they act out of anger, then it would be the people of Russia, people of Turkey to suffer both economically and socially. Both sides should approach with love and modesty rather than pride. Otherwise, they would cause scars that would be hard to mend in the future.
Moreover, the Head of the Foreign Relations Department of Azerbaijan Presidential Administration, Mr. Novruz Mammadov said they were ready to contribute to de-escalate the tension between Russia and Turkey. Reminding of the historical ties with Turkey and Russia, Mr. Mammadov added, “Relations between our countries are at the highest level. Azerbaijan doesn't wish any tension between Russia and Turkey. Azerbaijan is ready to help ease the tension between Russia and Turkey.”
It is very encouraging to hear such statements from our friend and neighbor countries with which we share a common history. In brief, the countries must build friendly, amicable relations with each other not to be affected when they encounter such unwanted events. We cannot form bonds with each other if we blame one another for what was done in the past. Russia and Turkey have overcome many obstacles in the past. For example, from 1568 until 1914, Ottomans and Russians fought 13 different wars but the political relationships between the Turks and the Soviets started during the times of the Turkey’s War of Independence. Following the endorsement of the nonaggression treaty, the cultural ties began developing. Following the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Turkish Republic, relations in every sphere from science to sports were proceeded and accelerated after signing a new nonaggression and friendship treaty in 1925. The national football match between them was the start-up key for their mutual cultural bonds. This reminds us of the game of Women National Football teams of Turkey and Russia on November 25th. This was one of the few positive, friendly events encountered lately following this crisis. Carrying out such cultural activities is a good method of raising the moral of people during these tense periods. It would also be beneficial to exchange messages of love, friendship and support among the youth of both nations on social media. Sending out messages of hatred would only exacerbate the balances of this delicate situation.
It is one thing to rescue a person while the house is on fire, and another thing before the fire has just started. Both nations are distressed due to the circumstances and both are offended, however it is never too late to mend the relations. It will be wiser to take actions at the early stages before the tension grows. There is always a way to resolve the issues. If there is 50% loss and 50% profit, it is our duty to see the 50% positive and we can never leave behind what both people have shared. If parties adopt an approach of love and compassion, the matters will be resolved easily. Hatred begets hatred and causes irreparable damages. Let us reverse this catastrophic situation back to friendship and open a new blank page for future cooperation.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Tehran Times: