Ahmet Davutoglu
Photo: AP

Turkey-Syria tensions rising

Ankara blames Syria for defaulting on military norms, shooting down its jet without warning. Iran urges both sides to exercise restraint

Tensions between Ankara and Damascus are rising, following the downing of a Turkish jet by the Syrian Air Force over the weekend. 


Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday that Syria "gave no warning" before shooting down the jet.


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He also accused Damascus of spreading "disinformation" about the incident: "They have created the impression that Syria felt like it was an act of aggression and they shot it down.... from our perspective that's not the case," Davutoglu told reporters.


In the first official response by Turkey to the incident, Ankara's FM stressed that international warfare rules in cases of a suspected breach of airspace were clear, and that Syria had failed to adhere to them.


הדמייה של האזור בו טס המטוס (צילום: EPA)

The incident area (Image: EPA)


"You have to first send a caution, a warning… If the warning doesn't work, you scramble your planes, you send a stronger signal, you force the plane to land. There wasn't enough time to do any of that in the time that our plane was in Syrian airspace.


"We have to question how it is that an unarmed, solo flight got this response from the Syrians," Davatoglu said, adding that the jet was participating in a test of Turkey's national radar system.


Turkish TV reported Sunday that the wreckage of jet was located at depth of 1,300 metres in Syrian waters.


Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi urged Turkey and Syria to show restraint following the incident.


In a telephone conversation with Davutoglu, Salehi said he hoped the two sides would "settle the issue peacefully to maintain regional stability."


Signals from both sides suggest neither want a military confrontation over the incident and the countries have started a joint search for the missing airmen.


Envoys from NATO member states will meet on Tuesday at Turkey's request for consultations over the incidnet. 


"Turkey has requested consultations under Article 4 of NATO's founding Washington Treaty. Under Article 4, any ally can request consultations whenever, in the opinion of any of them, their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened," NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said.


"The NAC (North Atlantic Council) will meet on Tuesday at Turkey's request. We expect Turkey to make a presentation on the recent incident."


Reuters contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 06.24.12, 11:59
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