Turkey Warns Syria Of Its Wrath, Threatens Military Action
With NATO standing behind him, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has called Syria an "open threat" to Turkey after a Turkish military jet was shot down last Friday.
NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, sympathized with Turkey, saying Syria's actions were "unacceptable," according to The New York Times:
“I would certainly expect that such an incident won’t happen again,” Mr. Rasmussen said at a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels. He added that the alliance would closely follow developments and “if necessary, consult and discuss what else could be done.”
The Gulf News also reported Rasmussen saying that NATO would support Turkey standing up to Syria:
- "Allies have expressed their strong support and solidarity with Turkey ... We will remain seized."
According to The New York Times, Prime Minister Erdogan has also threatened that Turkey will restructure its military procedures toward Syria:
“Every military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria in a manner that constitutes a security risk or danger would be considered as a threat and would be treated as a military target,” he said in a speech to lawmakers attended by Arab diplomats.
“From here, we warn the Syrian regime not to make any mistakes, not to test Turkey’s decisiveness and wisdom,” Mr. Erdogan said.
“If there is anyone who could not understand this up until today, we would and will prove in the most clear and determined way that Turkey cannot be challenged,” he said.
Erdogan argued that the Turkish plane's violation of Syrian air space was a mistake and that Syrian military helicopters have violated Turkish airspace in the past without Turkey taking military action. He called Syria's actions "a deliberate blow against Turkey," reported Reuters.
"Our plane was targeted on purpose, and in a hostile way, and not as a result of a mistake. The attitude of the Syrian officials following the incident is the most concrete evidence that our jet was attacked on purpose."
"The harassing fire on our Casa type plane during the search and rescue operations is the most palpable evidence of this intent."
Meanwhile, as violence wages on in Syria, 56 more people were reported dead on Tuesday, according to CNN, when fighting broke out between Syrian troops and rebels in the Damascus suburb of Qudsaya. According to BBC News, witnesses described the scene as some of the worse violence in the area since the uprising of President al-Assad over a year ago.
Tension between Syria and Turkey began long before the downed Turkish plane, when Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began disagreeing on democratic reform, Reuters reported. Turkey is home to over 30,000 Syrian refugees and the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA). Erdogan stressed that the number of refugees would surely rise if fighting were to continue, but he also maintained that Turkey would not bow to Syria's violence.
"Our rational response should not be perceived as weakness, our mild manners do not mean we are a tame lamb," he told a meeting of his parliamentary party, according to Reuters. "Everybody should know that Turkey's wrath is just as strong and devastating as its friendship is valuable."
See more Neon Tommy coverage of the rising tension between Turkey & Syria here.
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