News / Europe

Turkey Toughens Response to Syria's Downing of Military Jet

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, arrives for a cabinet meeting in his office in Ankara, Turkey, June 25, 2012.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, arrives for a cabinet meeting in his office in Ankara, Turkey, June 25, 2012.
Turkey has toughened its response to Syria's downing of a Turkish military jet last week, saying it will ask fellow NATO members to consider the incident a Syrian attack on the whole alliance.

NATO envoys are due to meet Tuesday at Turkey's request, to discuss a reaction to the attack on the Turkish reconnaissance aircraft near the Syrian-Turkish maritime border. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc Monday said Ankara called the meeting under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which states that an attack on one alliance member shall be considered an attack against all members.

NATO previously said Turkey requested the meeting by invoking Article 4 of the treaty that allows one member to hold consultations with others if it feels its security has been threatened.

Speaking after a Turkish Cabinet meeting, Arinc said Ankara has the right to retaliate under international law for what he called Syria's "hostile" act against the unarmed military jet. He accused Syrian forces of deliberately shooting down the aircraft in international airspace over the Mediterranean. But Arinc also said Turkey does not want to go to war over the incident, which left two Turkish pilots missing.

Syria disputes the Turkish accusation.

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said Monday a Syrian anti-aircraft machine gun fired on the Turkish jet in self-defense as it was flying low along the Syrian coast in violation of his country's sovereignty. He said the machine gun has a maximum range of 2.5 kilometers.

Turkey has said its plane inadvertently entered Syrian airspace for a brief period before leaving and then being struck by Syrian fire.

Makdissi said Syria remains committed to neighborly relations with Turkey. But he also warned Ankara and other NATO members against considering hostile action against Syria, saying they should be mindful that Syrian land, territorial waters and airspace are "sacred."

In his remarks to reporters, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Arinc said Syrian forces fired at a second Turkish military plane that was searching for the downed reconnaissance jet. He did not say if the search aircraft was hit. Arinc said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will give more details of Turkey's response to the Syrian actions on Tuesday in remarks to lawmakers in parliament.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington looks forward to Tuesday's NATO meeting "to hear [Ankara's] views of this incident and to hear what they want to do moving forward." She also described Syria's attack on the reconnaissance jet as unprovoked.

"There was no warning to this aircraft. It was just shot out of the sky," said Nuland. "And that obviously is not in keeping with international norms in such incidents."

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Monday she expressed concern about Syria's downing of the jet in a conversation with the Turkish foreign minister.

"We are very concerned about what has happened and very concerned for the family of the two pilots who are missing," said Ashton. "And we will be obviously looking to Turkey to be restrained in its response."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague downplayed the prospect of the aircraft incident triggering foreign military intervention in Syria.

"I do not think it illustrates a different phase of the Syrian crisis," said Hague. "I think we continue to be in a great danger of a collapse in Syria or of intensifying conflict."

In other developments, EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg approved new sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, adding one Syrian official and six companies and entities to an EU sanctions list. The sanctions are aimed at pressuring Mr. Assad to stop his deadly crackdown on a 15-month uprising against his 11-year rule.

Turkish media and officials Monday said a Syrian general and other senior military officers defected to the opposition by crossing into Turkey overnight with their families. The mass defection raised the number of Syrian generals who have sought refuge in Turkey to 13.

Turkey has provided sanctuary to Syrian military defectors and thousands of Syrian refugees since last year, when it turned against President Assad in protest at his suppression of the revolt.

Activists posted a video on the Internet showing what they said was Syrian government shelling of rebellious communities in the central province of Homs Monday.

Separately, U.N. and diplomatic sources told Reuters news agency that a top U.N. human rights official was in Syria Monday for talks with the government on opening an investigation into massacres and other atrocities in the country. If confirmed, it would be the first time Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro has been granted permission to enter Syria since the U.N. Human Rights Council set up his team in September.

Scott Stearns in Washington contributed to this report.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nonamed
June 27, 2012 4:49 AM
Turkey's jet was shot in international air zone.It accidentally had gone in Syrian air zone for ten minutes. Because of this, In this situation Turkey is right


by: Anonymous
June 26, 2012 1:30 PM
Turkey is already absorbing a terrible burden of refugees caused by the Syrian government. I would hope Turkey passes on a bill to the Syrian dictator for all expenses incurred. I'd also love to see Nato or the UN put in a perimeter near the border, a safe zone. This way people could easily leave including Syrian Army personel. Syrian Army personel have a hard time defecting. If they could easily do so, they would be defecting by the thousands. I'd like to see even Russia put in a perimeter and help the people of Syria, if Russia doesn't help the people, the people will most definately oust the Russian navy from the port(s) in Syria. It's time Russia tries to win the hearts and minds of the Syrian people, otherwise Russia will get a kick in the teeth once the dust settles.


by: Wolves and a little goat
June 26, 2012 11:22 AM
So the little goat hit the knife of the "wolf" down, then the "wolf" and other real wolves and lion started to howl: my god, how can a little goat attack a wolf? Ok, now, it's a good excuse for us to start....


by: Wolves and a little goat
June 26, 2012 11:11 AM
These lion and wolves always do military practices around the little goat's home and often bully and threatern the little goat. This little goat is facing huge danger because these wolves and the lion can attack and swallow him any time. This little goat is very scary and nervous....


by: Wim Roffel from: Netherlands
June 26, 2012 8:05 AM
It is not hard to imagine what most likely happened. Here you have a bunch of Syrian soldiers who are almost daily shot at by rebels who they know to be helped by Turkey. They hear almost daily Turks and other foreigners debate about invading Syria. And then one day a Turkish plane comes right at them...


by: Huang Jun from: China
June 26, 2012 12:08 AM
Why Turkey airfighter flied over Syrian border while Syria was in the sate of war? Obviously Turkey's F4 is spying and gathering intelligence information for the rebels. Why it flied at such a low altitude and high speed? Surely it was taking photos of Syrian forces on the ground. So it was Turkey who is carrying out hostile activities against Syria and Syria only tried to defend its territory. How could Syrian troops realize that it was a Turkey plane if it flied so fast and at such a low altitude.

In Response

by: Opliogolou from: Athens
June 26, 2012 11:41 AM
Huang, you are right all the way about Turkey... Turkey has a reputation in their surrounding neighborhood... they are treacherous, malevolent liars... look what they have done to Greece... to Israel... to Kurds... to USA...


by: Anonymous from: America
June 25, 2012 8:02 PM
Turkey needs not go to war over this situation. What Turkey needs to do in order not to appear weak in the face of this challenge and other hostile forces to Turkish dignity is to demand a total “no fly” zone over all of Syria. Turkey must let all of Syria’s neighbors know that any aircraft that attempts to enter Syrian airspace will be intercepted by the Turkish air force and compelled to land in Turkey. All intercepted aircraft will be held by the Turkish government until Bashar Assad goes personally to NATO headquarters to give a complete explanation of the downing of this Turkish aircraft. This includes having Bashar Assad giving up his diplomatic immunity while at NATO headquarters.

In Response

by: Cyprus from: Cyprus
June 26, 2012 11:48 AM
Anonymous, anything turkey does will be a proof positive of its weakness and desperation... Syria's Assad is not Israel with their BS intellectual niceties... Assad will blow the Turks to hell


by: CanadaKen from: PEI,Canada
June 25, 2012 5:39 PM
Syrian murderer, Assad, is bringing his regime closer to the end. Turkey is not a country to screw around with. I'm very pleased with how well they're handling all this.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid