News / Middle East

Turkey Seizes Cargo from Syrian Plane Forced to Land in Ankara

Syrian passenger plane that was forced by Turkish jets to land at Esenboga airport in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 10, 2012
Syrian passenger plane that was forced by Turkish jets to land at Esenboga airport in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 10, 2012
VOA News
Turkey says it has confiscated illicit cargo from a Syrian passenger plane that it forced to land in Ankara after entering Turkish airspace on a flight from Moscow to Damascus.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday that authorities at Ankara's Esenboga airport seized items that violated international civil aviation rules. He said the Syrian Air Airbus A320 with more than 30 passengers and crew would be allowed to continue its journey to the Syrian capital without the cargo.

Turkish television network NTV said the confiscated materials included missile parts. The Syrian government has not commented on the incident.

Turkish military jets had forced the plane to land in the Turkish capital on suspicion that it was carrying weapons from Russia to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime Russian ally. Mr. Assad has been fighting an 18-month uprising by rebels trying to end his 11-year rule. Russian media said 17 Russians were on the Syrian plane and Russian diplomats had been sent to the airport to protect their rights.

Davutoglu said Ankara is determined to stop the flow of weapons to what he called a Syrian "regime that carries out brutal massacres" against its own people. Turkey is one of the strongest regional opponents of Mr. Assad and provides a haven to many of the rebels leading the uprising.

The Turkish foreign minister also said Ankara has banned Turkish passenger planes from entering Syrian airspace, deeming it unsafe.

Turkish troops have repeatedly shelled Syrian military targets in recent days in response to Syrian artillery that landed just inside Turkey. Turkish military chief Gen. Necdet Ozel said Wednesday that his forces will respond with "greater force" if Syrian shelling continues to spill across the border. He was speaking on a visit to the Turkish border village of Akcakale, where Syrian artillery killed five Turkish civilians last week.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Syria at an Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting in Istanbul, saying Damascus' actions are "hurting the heart of humanity and the whole Islamic world." Mr. Erdogan said there are 99,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey and he expects more to enter as they escape the fighting between Syrian government and rebel forces.

Turkish residents near the Syrian border reported hearing explosions and gunfire from the nearby Syrian town of Azmarin on Wednesday.

In another development, U.S. defense officials said the United States has sent 150 Army special operations forces to Jordan to bolster the kingdom's military capabilities in case the Syrian civil war escalates.

Speaking in Brussels on Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. troops have been working with their Jordanian allies to monitor the Syrian government's suspected chemical weapon stockpiles and ease the plight of Syrian refugees that have fled to Jordan. The United States has rejected direct military intervention in Syria, but warned that the use of chemical weapons could provoke U.S. action.

The United Nations said earlier this month Jordan was hosting more than 100,000 Syrian refugees.

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Comment Sorting
by: Karolyn Schrohder from: Germany
October 11, 2012 11:54 AM
I would like to say to "Ferhat" from Turkey that every nation who had helped Jews has benefited exponentially from their wisdom, innovation, science... its like an axiom of nature... the more Jews you have in your country the more advanced, enlightened and prosperous you are... i believe that the stain of shame on Germany rests not on the "final solution" but on the broken hearts of the Jews who loved her so much...
In Response

by: Ferhat from: Turkey
October 11, 2012 6:41 PM

I agree with you. Personally, as a Turk and as a Muslim, I believe Israel and Turkey were and still can be great allies. Turkey has benefited from Jewish culture since the days many of the Jews were saved from Spain in 1492. We always had a great respect for Jews and their culture and believed in their right to a homeland. Unfortunately, recent events have strained that relationship. There are faults on both sides which I hope will be addressed in the near future. Israel and Turkey need to stand together and also fix the bitterness between Arabs and Jews in the years to come. All it takes is an open mind and willingness to do so on both sides.
In Response

by: Dr. Heinrich von Staufer from: Germany
October 11, 2012 2:53 PM
Trag dich für den Frau Schröhder... i have cried much a lot from reading your letter. Jews have never been more than one percent of our Deutschland population yet they have earned over half of the "Iron Crosses" granted for bravery in WW I... it is a stain on our soul what we did i can't write more
In Response

by: broken hearts from: USA
October 11, 2012 12:50 PM
Dear Ms. S. my daughter alerted me to your thread, I am the son of a Holocaust Survivor who used to sing "Das Lied der Deutschen... come every July... and you are so right... he loved her so much...

by: Dr. Hastings from: UK
October 11, 2012 11:40 AM
The claim that NATO will somehow "help" Turkey rebuff a Russian rebuke is foolish...!! NATO will not be even marginally "helpful" for the Turks against Assad's decisive assault on Turkey, the least NATO could do is the most Turkey can hope to expect... and that is the legacy of Turkish treachery since 2003... we have not forgotten... and, lastly, I completely agree with "Stalin" from Russia... the only country in the region Russia does not want to tangle militarily with is Israel... and "Ferhat" contention that Erdogan has somehow strengthen Turkish Israel connection calls into question his grasp of reality...

I don't see how Erdogan alliance and active collusion with forces who are committed to Israel's destruction - strengthen the natural bond between the two non Arab countries... I don't see how his constant and vitriolic agitation of Islamic depredation in his own country contributes to amicable Turkish Israeli bond. I firmly believe that in the absence of Israel support, Turkey will do well to heed the Russian warnings... and back off Syria, and just content themselves with another genocide against the Kurds.
In Response

by: Ferhat from: Turkey
October 11, 2012 6:21 PM
Dr. Hastings: It would seem that it’s you who needs a dose of reality. Turkey has always been more liberal than the Arab countries. Turkey is also a more modern country. Turkish Muslims/Islamists are therefore more liberal and more secular than others in the Middle East. This is also part of the reason why Turkey was first to recognize Israel as a country. I did not say that Erdogan strengthened relations with Israel. If you read my writing more closely, you’ll notice that I said he ‘tried’ to improve relations. In light of the events past 2008, Erdogan’s reaction was natural. Israel’s attack on Gaza, then the boarding of the peace flotilla and killing of Turks on board the Mavi Marmara. To make matters worse, deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon's treatment of the Turkish ambassador who visited Israel was appalling to say the least. Israel never apologized or compensated the families of the victims of the flotilla raid. I’m also curious to know what ‘treachery’ you’re talking about since 2003… Perhaps you can tell me?
Also, regarding the Kurds.. ‘another genocide’? I have no idea what you’re talking about, as Kurds are living fine in Turkey. They have a political party (BDP). They have a nationally sponsored television in Kurdish (TRT6). There was even a Kurdish president in Turkey (Turgut Ozal). Perhaps you’re talking about the PKK? They are nothing more than terrorists who are paid by other countries to destabilize the region. They want to establish an independent Kurdish state based on Communist ideals and divide Turkey in half. That will never happen. Also, I’ll remind you that the PKK is accepted as terrorist by the EU and US.

by: Arhmet from: Burma
October 11, 2012 5:10 AM
No problem 100,000 refugees. Mr foreign minister had already met 400,000 refugees from Bangaladesh illegally enter and rape, kill and destroying host country . They don't sympathise host Burma. Syria refugees might not do like that or same people.

by: Anonymous
October 11, 2012 12:34 AM
IF the Russians want to hurt Turkey they will arm the Kurds with anti tank mines and heavy rpgs. Turkey will cry uncle (to NATO).

by: Stalin from: Russia
October 10, 2012 9:49 AM
following Turkey's successive military purges its Army is plagued with fear hate suspicion and vindictiveness... Turkey will do well not to trust too much to its military strength when they "verbally" confront Syria... and NATO is a poor substitute to alley their fears... besides, Russia has an almost innate dislike (some would call it - hate) for Turks, and Russia will find a way to hurt Turkey in the region without risking a retaliatory response from Israel. Turkey has alienated Israel by an idiotic alignment with Hamas and other repulsive Islamic degenerates in the region...
In Response

by: Ferhat from: Turkey
October 10, 2012 11:18 PM
First of all, each year, approximately 3.5 million Russians go to Turkey as tourists and enjoy staying there. So your comment of Russians somehow 'dislike' or 'hate' Turkey is wishful thinking. Second, Turkey has the 2nd largest army in NATO (after the US) and is considered to be the 8th most powerful military force in the world. Third, Turkey has the right to invoke article 5 under NATO to harness support of all NATO countries if any other nation attacks it's borders. Fourth, it was Erdogan who visited Israel before the fallout in 2005 tried to improve relations with Israel. He even visited the Holocaust museum there and criticized anti-antisemitism at home. It was the Israelis who went behind Erdogan in 2008 and launched it's war on Gaza, so Erdogan's reaction was quite natural. Turkey was the first Islamic country who recognized Israel and don't forget that it was the Turks who helped the Jews during the Spanish Inquisition.
In Response

by: Meer Sultan Nazarbyev from: Ukraine
October 10, 2012 3:43 PM
"Bob" with all respect... i don't think a Ukrainian will say what you said... a Turk might... but not a Ukrainian..!!! if you are a Turk please listen to the warning from Russia... they do not bluff... and you know that your Government is full of Puff... NATO will not help you, Europe despise you and the Kurds will slaughter you... you will do well to listen... and moderate your posture against Syria
In Response

by: BOB from: UKRAINE
October 10, 2012 11:56 AM
I are you totally out of it! Russia is not the soviet union but a funny wannabe of what was in the past the power of what was in history is as died as the dinosaurs for Russia just like the jock that was the soviet union I mean how big are you if you only lasted for 74 years hehehehe take a look at the links and you will see. Turkey is not Georgia my friend turkey can and do have the power to defend her self ! if you take a look at the links you will see what is the truth about the joke that is Russian army

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