26 Jun 2012

Nato: Syria attack on Turkish plane ‘unacceptable’

Nato condemns Syria’s shooting down of a Turkish plane as relations between the two countries deteriorate.

A view of mosques and minarets with a Turkish flag (Getty)

Following a meeting of the organisation, called by Turkey, Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference the organisation strongly condemned Syria’s actions. He said that the incident was “another example of Syria‘s disregard for international norms, peace and security and human life.”

The Syrian military said the F-4 Phantom jet was flying fast and low just a few hundred yards off the Syrian coast when it was hit. Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul hit back saying it was normal for high-speed jets to temporarily breach national borders.

Stressing Nato’s support for Turkey, Mr Rasmussen said: “The security of the alliance is indivisible. We stand together with Turkey in a spirit of strong solidarity.”

Read more: The Battle for Syria Special Report

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the country’s parliament that Turkey would consider any Ankara’s rational response to Syria’s shooting down of a Turkish warplane should not be mistaken for weakness, warning Turkey’s wrath was as strong as its friendship was valuable.

Turkey was totally in the right over Syria’s “downing of an unarmed reconnaissance jet in international air space” last week, Erdogan said in a speech to his ruling AK Party deputies in parliament.

He warned: “Every military element approaching Turkey from the Syrian border and representing a security risk and danger will be assessed as a military threat and will be treated as a military target.”

Tensions between the former allies have risen since the uprisings in Syria against President Assad. In April, Turkey accused its neighbour of firing on refugees fleeing the conflict. Turkey said shots had been fired at the Kilis refugee camp from the Syrian side of the border.