World War 3 could be closer than ever before even though most experts believe that Moscow would not escalate tensions with Ankara over the recent downing of its Su-24 fight jet by Turkish F-16 in Syria. Of course, Turkey had refused to participate in the Western sanctions against Russia last year. The two countries have close economic ties, and Turkey is the favorite destination for Russian tourists.

World War 3 Fears Grow As Russia Confronts Turkey

Russia will defend its image of an uncompromising country

However, international security expert and President of IMESClub Maria Dubovikova said in a column that Russia has stopped acting rational. The downing of Russian jet by Turkey has put the world on a dangerous path that could lead to World War 3. Immediately after the Su-24 was downed by Turkey, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of “serious consequences.”

Moscow has refused to forgive the death of its pilot. Even though its own economy is under stress due to Western sanctions, Russia has imposed economic sanctions on Turkey. The Kremlin has barred its citizens from holidaying in Turkey. Maria Dubovikova points out that in the current situation, what matter for Russia is to “defend the image of a powerful, mighty, and uncompromising country.”

World War 3: Turkey moves submarines close to Russian warship

Russia has accused Turkey of being “secret allies” with the Islamic State. Even though Ankara has denied allegations, many of the world’s top news agencies admitted that Moscow’s claims were not groundless. The whole world acknowledges that Turkey is a “jihadi hub,” says Maria Dubovikova. It buys oil from the militant group, and supply arms and recruits from all over the world to ISIS.

The West, including the United States, has turned a blind eye on Turkey’s involvement in ISIS activities because they cannot afford to lose access to Ankara’s aerodromes and military bases. Since last week, Russia has armed its fighter jets with advanced air-to-air missiles, and deployed the highly advanced S-400 air defense systems in Syria. In response, Turkey has moved its submarines near the Russian warship Moskva in the Mediterranean Sea, putting the world just one step away from World War 3.

Turkey is a member of NATO, so even if Ankara itself presses the war button, NATO will have to jump in to fight against Russia. On Thursday, Vladimir Putin warned that Turkey “will regret more than once” shooting down the Russian jet in Syria.