A demonstrator holds a picture depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin during a protest against Russian military operations in Syria, in Istanbul, Oct. 3, 2015. (AP Photo)
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Turkey may be furious about Russian incursions into its air space but beyond words of protest there is little it can do, with its dependence on Russian energy and trade keeping its hands tied, and its own Syria policy in disarray.The military alliance has, rhetorically at least, leapt to Turkey's defense, describing the Russian violations as "extremely dangerous," raising the prospect of direct confrontation between the former Cold War adversaries.The Syrian army carried out what appeared to be its first major assault backed by Russian airstrikes Wednesday, highlighting how Turkey has been left impotent as the conflict over its southern border takes on an increasingly international dimension.Turkey is highly sensitive to threats to its border security, and Erdogan, commander-in-chief of its armed forces, is ill-disposed to being threatened.Turkey imports almost all of its energy, including 60 percent of its gas and 35 percent of its oil, from Russia.Russia's state Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) is due to build Turkey's first nuclear power station, a $20 billion project, while plans are on the table for a gas pipeline from Russia known as TurkStream.
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