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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: June 29, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russian Senator Sees Link Between Terrorist Attack on Istanbul and Erdogan's Overtures to Russia, Israel
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Konstantin Kosachev, a Russian senator, suggested on his Facebook page that the terrorist attack on the Istanbul Airport last night was aimed against attempts by Turkey's leadership to repair relations with Russia and Israel, TASS reports.

As we reported, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made an expression of regrets to Russia that fell short of an actual apology for Turkey's shooting down of a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border last November. The pilot ejected but was later killed by militants. 

Kosachev, who is head of the foreign affairs committee of the Federation Council or upper house of the Russian parliament wrote (translation by The Interpreter) on his Facebook page:

"The tragedy in Istanbul is terrible. First of all, deep and most sincere condolences to the relatives of those killed. The threat of this form of terror is terrible precisely because anyone may become its victim.

The Turkish leaders' version of events, of the possible involvements of IS militants, seems most likely. These are not Kurds who are so feared in Ankara. And all the more obvious is the danger of any steps by Turkey itself in some form of support or another of any terrorists, including buying oil or providing them opportunities for medical treatment, rehabilitation or training. Help to radicals is always a boomerang, which the Americans who 'cultivated' Bin Laden in their day as a weapon against the USSR can confirm.

Now versions of events are recalled, that exactly two years ago, June 29, 2014, the 'Islamic State' announced the creation of the so-called 'caliphate' with its own laws and government bodies. But that's not the only point. The terrorist act was clearly aimed as well against the attempts of the Turkish leadership to smooth relations with Russia and Israel. Judging from everything, Turkey is being 'warned' so that it does not take part in the formed united anti-terrorist front, created by the forces, above all, of Russian diplomacy.

As for the return of Russians to Turkish beaches, that was premature even without Istanbul. It's not even a question of the fact that we are only at the very beginning of the path of restoring normal relations. It's just that the terrorist threat as before is great, and therefore  many Europeans who had not spoiled relations with Turkey have not not traveled there. Well, and as for the dialogue of our leaders -- I am confident that the terrorist act will not move it apart but rather bring it closer.  Because, despite everything, we are in solidarity with the people of Turkey today."

The notion that the US contacted and supported Osama Bin Ladn when it backed the mujahideen during the Soviet war in the 1980s is a cherished staple of Russian propaganda. But scholars, journalists and former officials have thoroughly discounted such support of Arab mujahideen as distinct from Afghan natives.

It's important to note that Soviet forces killed a million Afghans during the war, and Afghans had their own reasons to oppose Russians.

Franz Klintsevich, first deputy chairman of the Federal Council's Defense and Security, did not speculate as explicitly about "message-sending" by terrorists in the latest terrorist attack in Istanbul, regarding Erdogan's overtures to Russia and Israel. He commented:

"Terrorist attacks are always an intimidation method. In Turkey terrorists want to sow chaos, completely destabilize the situation, something that naturally worries Russia," the parliamentarian has told TASS commenting on the blasts that rocked the Istanbul Ataturk airport on Tuesday. "Attempts to stir up Turkey from inside undoubtedly wreak havoc on the Middle East region as a whole," he added.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick