Former friends in need of outside help

It will need the help of the international community to resolve the diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Russia says our Correspondent Jon Brain

Photo by: TRT WORLD
Photo by: TRT WORLD

View of Turkmen mountains from town of Yayladagi, Hatay in Southern Turkey

Stand on the hillside above the town of Yayladagi in Southern Turkey and you'll come as close to the war in Syria as you would likely want to get.

Look towards the South and, apart from the occasional plume of dark smoke temporarily obscuring your view of the Turkmen mountains, you won't see a great deal of the conflict.  But you will certainly hear it.

The silence is periodically shattered by the crunch of mortar shells and the crackle of gun fire.

No one knows how many shells, rockets and rounds of ammunition have been fired in this war. No one is counting. But of all the ordnance deployed, no single missile has had the impact of the one which brought down a Russian SU 24 on Tuesday morning. It has provoked an international crisis and brought two erstwhile friends and allies to the brink of a messy divorce.

The western powers, desperate to build a coalition to fight DAESH watch on anxiously as Turkey and Russia trade verbal insults and, in the case of Russia, call a halt to trade. 

After nearly a week of recriminations the two nations resemble heavyweight boxers, exhausted by their struggle, unable to land a knock-out blow.

Russia talks of "grave consequences," Turkey warns its former friend not to "play with fire". 

Russia demands an apology for the downing of its jet. Turkey makes it clear that no such apology will be forthcoming.

With neither nation willing to back down it's looking increasingly likely as if only the intervention of other countries as mediators can provide any hope of a rapprochement. In the meantime, over the border from Yayladagi the shooting and the shelling will continue.

Author: Jon Brain