Downing of Turkish jet by Syria denounced as 'unacceptable'
NATO's secretary-general condemns downing in 'strongest terms'
NATO's Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has denounced the downing
of a Turkish fighter jet by Syrian government forces as unacceptable.
The formal condemnation came after Turkey briefed NATO's North Atlantic
Council in discussions held under Article 4 of NATO's founding treaty,
which allows a NATO member to request consultations if its security has
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Turkey's 'wrath is as much violent and crushing . We will continue to be a burning torment for circles who have adopted a hostile attitude towards Turkey.'
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan alluded to the incident in a speech to the ruling AK party's parliamentary group. He said that the Turkish military will respond to any future violation of its border by the Syrian military.
"The rules of engagement of the Turkish Armed Forces have changed," he said. "Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria by posing a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target."
Syria still insists that the Turkish aircraft violated its airspace last Friday. Turkey maintains that although the unarmed RF-4E reconnaissance jet had unintentionally strayed into Syria's air space, it was inside international airspace when it was brought down.
Erdogan said Syria shot down the unarmed plane in international airspace in a "deliberate" and "hostile" act, adding that border violations in the region were not uncommon. Erdogan claimed that Syrian helicopters have violated Turkish airspace five times recently, without Turkish response.
"The Syrian regime has no more legitimacy that is clear. Women, children, the elderly, have been killed relentlessly by this tyranny," Erdogan said. "No one should be deceived by our cold blooded stance," he said. "Our acting with common sense should not be perceived as a weakness."
One of Syria's closest allies, Russia, said that the incident should not be seen as a provocation.
"It is important that what happened is not viewed as a provocation or a premeditated action," the foreign ministry said in a statement on its Web site.
The downing of the jet has aggravated tense ties between the two neighbors. Turkey has repeatedly called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down as 33,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey.
Erdogan warned that Turkey's "wrath is as much violent and crushing . We will continue to be a burning torment for circles who have adopted a hostile attitude towards Turkey."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Syria, Turkey, NATO, fighter jet, international airspace
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