NATO allegedly intended to attack Belarus in response to the hijacking of the Ryanair plane, but the attack was canceled due to Turkish opposition and fears that Russia would intervene in support of Minsk. This false narrative was launched by the Russian and pro-Russian press in response to the wave of criticism generated in the West by Belarus' action.
NEWS: “Turkey defended Belarus from a potential NATO military invasion. According to the portal ianed.ru, the Turkish representative to NATO did not support the use of military forces against Belarus. He announced his decision during a talk within the Alliance on measures against Belarus, in connection with the hijacking in Minsk of the passenger plane operated by the Irish airline Ryanair. Information on Turkey’s actions was published by The Washington Post.
According to that information, the decision was not adopted so Ankara may have saved Belarus from a military invasion.
Military expert Oleg Lukyanov mentioned that the main unrest in the West is associated with the arrest of the editor-in-chief of the Nexta Telegram channel, Roman Protasevich. Lukyanov said the channel was funded by the West and was based in Poland.
However, according to Lukyanov, the main savior [of Minsk] is not Turkey, but the Russian Federation: “A Turk can always be persuaded by various means or simply ignored. But the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation – never.””
NARRATIVES: 1. NATO is willing to launch a military company against Belarus, but Turkey has blocked this initiative. 2. The West is cautious about an attack on Belarus because it fears a backlash from the Russian Armed Forces.
LOCAL CONTEXT / ETHOS: At the behest of the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius was forced to land in Minsk for a blacklisted journalist to be taken off and arrested. Roman Protasevich wrote a lot in 2020 about the brutality of the police during the anti-government protests. The EU, NATO and Western leaders have blamed these actions on the Belarusian leader. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called for an international investigation into the “serious and dangerous incident,” and political analysts say Lukashenko did his best to arrest Protasevich, ignoring global public opinion. In the context of the hijacking by the Belarusian authorities of this passenger plane, a lot of critical reactions have come from European countries and NATO member states in the last two weeks. In response, Belarus and Russia have kept threatening the states that challenged their action.
PURPOSE: The purpose of these narratives is to show the public in Belarus and Russia that NATO is aggressive towards Belarus, but is afraid of Russia, which is always ready to come to Minsk’s rescue.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: In reality, the Washington Post did not write anything about any NATO military action against Minsk. The American publication, quoting two anonymous diplomats, mentions that Turkey has blocked the publication of a harsher statement on Belarus and the adoption of sanctions in connection with the hijacking of the Irish plane. “Turkey has used its veto power to block any practical action against Minsk, which retained its formal partnership with the Alliance,” The Washington Post reads. The Russian press interpreted the words “any practical actions” as a threatening message indicating a military campaign against Minsk, and built around this manipulation complex narratives, distributed by various regular and online media channels.Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei himself told the Russian press that due to Turkey, NATO has not introduced sanctions against Belarus, so there can be no invasion. It’s true that Makei added that Minsk had supported Turkey too, “when there was an attempt to organize a coup.” At present, the Russian press is building a negative image of NATO in Belarus, counting on the historical memory of the inhabitants of the USSR, who for decades were convinced by Soviet propaganda that NATO was a warlike and anti-human capitalist alliance.