Turkey ready to take any measures against Syria


Turkey Syria Security SummitTurkey is ready to take any measures, including cross-border military operations into war-torn Syria, against threats to its national security, its foreign minister warned Wednesday.

“The Turkish republic is a powerful state and never hesitates to take any measures to protect its national security if need be,” Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview.

“Any group in Syria, or the regime, should not test Turkey’s determination,” said the minister, speaking in his central home province of Konya.

Turkey, which backs the three-year-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and hosts many refugees, on Sunday shot down a Syrian fighter jet that it said had breached its airspace.

It has also warned it will protect a historic shrine that is under Turkish jurisdiction but located inside Syria’s northern Aleppo province against threats from Islamist militants.

A Turkish flag flies over the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of Ottoman Empire founder Osman, and a small garrison with a symbolic number of troops is permanently stationed there.

The site, located 25 kilometers from the border, has been threatened by the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

Davutoglu accused ISIS of clashing with Free Syrian Army rebels while refraining from attacking regime forces.

He said “Turkey is ready to take any legitimate step under international law if its national security, including the area where the tomb of Suleyman Shah is situated, is threatened.”

Once warm relations between Syria and Turkey have collapsed since the conflict erupted in 2011, with Ankara squarely backing the rebels and hosting more than 750,000 refugees, mostly in camps along the border.

Tensions have flared since Sunday’s jet downing, which Syria labeled “flagrant aggression.”

On Monday, Turkey’s military reported a dozen incidents involving its aircraft and Syrian anti-aircraft defenses.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a vocal critic of Assad, praised Turkey’s military for shooting down the Syrian warplane.

It was the most serious incident since Turkish jets last September shot down a Syrian helicopter that Ankara said was two kilometers inside its airspace.

Turkey toughened its rules of engagement after the downing of one of its own fighter jets by the Syrian air force in June 2012, declaring any military approach of the border from Syria would be considered a threat.

“Turkey’s rules of engagement are not a secret,” said Davutoglu. “They were not declared only to remain on paper… we have tried to prevent tension and conflict, but the Syrian side dared to test our deterrence.”

Local media have meanwhile reported that Turkey has deployed elite units on the border.

The minister said the military was able to “immediately respond in case of any violation,” with the air force constantly patrolling and ground troops prepared to protect borders.

“There can be nothing more natural than this,” he said. “Literally, one of the bloodiest civil conflicts of the last century is taking place in Syria.”



4 responses to “Turkey ready to take any measures against Syria”

  1. 5thDrawer Avatar

    I always thought that it was possible many of these stupid ‘problems’ (wars) occur because of translators on the other end of earphone head-sets.

  2. Turkey is now saying, “We have had enough of Assad and his massacres”.

  3. MekensehParty Avatar

    Erdo’s government will go to war with assad to avoid internal collapse.
    Nothing better than open belligerence, bodies returning in bags killed by the “monstrous” assad to keep people from tweeting about the supression of freedoms. Something he must have learned from the Israelis he likes to criticize every day.

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      Twitter and Facebook told him to ‘get stuffed’ …. more natural for a turkey. :-))

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