NATO to meet after Syria downs Turkish jet
25 June 2012
NATO countries are to meet tomorrow to discuss the downing of a Turkish jet by Syrian air defences last week.
The unarmed F-4 Phantom jet had reportedly strayed into Syrian airspace during a radar test mission on 22 June and was said to have been fired on without warning.
After it was hit the plane flew erratically before crashing into the sea 13 nautical miles from Syria, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a Turkish television channel. The location of the wreckage is known but neither the wreck nor the jet's two-man crew have been recovered.
Turkey has asked for a meeting of NATO's North Atlantic Council, which features ambassadors from all 28 NATO countries, under article 4 of the alliance's Washington Treaty. Article 4 allows any NATO ally to "request consultations if they feel their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened".
"The Syrians knew full well that it was a Turkish military plane and the nature of its mission," Davutoglu said.
"Nobody should dare put Turkey's capabilities to the test. We will bring this affair before public opinion and international law in the name of Turkey's honour."
A spokesman for Syria's foreign ministry later told Turkish television that the incident was "not an attack".
"An unidentified object entered our airspace and unfortunately as a result it was brought down," the spokesman said. "It was understood only later that it was a Turkish plane. There was no hostile act against Turkey whatsoever. It was just an act of defence for our sovereignty."
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said the "outrageous" act underlined "how far beyond accepted behaviour the Syrian regime has put itself".
"…I have made clear to Foreign Minister Davutoglu the UK's strong support for the Turkish government at this difficult time," he said.
News of Syrian military defections continues following the defection to Jordan last week of a Syrian air force pilot. Several senior officers, including a General, two Colonels, two Majors and a Lieutenant are said to have defected to Turkey on 24 June with a group of around 33 other soldiers.
HAVE YOUR SAY
25 June 2012
As the Falklands wants to remain British, can they expect Turkey to help defend them if military action is taken against them by the south american countries, after all, Britain too is a member of NATO.
This too would fall under NATO's Article 4.
I THINK NOT, so why should we become involved in their quarrel.
TJ - Britain
25 June 2012
Few can seriously believe the tale that the RF-4 accidentally "strayed" into the airspace of a country where, to all intents and purposes, a civil war is in progress, with the rebels receiving arms via Turkey. Under the circumstances, sadly, the result isn't exactly surprising and calling this particular act of the Syrian government "outrageous" is just silly.
Stan - York
26 June 2012
This will just be jumped on as useful propoganda to bash Syria.
"Radar test mission" Really? Spy fight? Maybe.
With a country that volotile is it wise to be conducting "radar test flights" around its borders?
Agree totally with TJ's comment as well.
Daniele Mandelli - Guildford