Thursday, June 28, 2012

Turkish Fury

"Whatever is needed to be done will definitely be done within the framework of international law.  We have no intention of going to war with anyone.  We have no such intent.  Everyone should know that this kind of action will not remain unpunished.

"Our plane, which had gone to rescue (the pilots), was fired upon.  This situation was brought to an end following a warning from our foreign ministry.  But yes, there was a short period of harassing fire."  Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc 

Statements that appear somewhat contradictory.  But time will tell.  After all, Syrian forces had deliberately destroyed an unarmed Turkish warplane.  Yes, it had overflown slightly into Syrian airspace, but swiftly departed on instructions from Turkish officials, and it was while it was in international airspace that it was shot down.  Not only that, but Syrian forces also fired on a Turkish military transport plane that was searching for the F-4 reconnaissance jet and its two crew members.

The incident would not go "unpunished".  Turkey is big on punishing.  Observe its destroyed relationship with Israel, at one time its closest ally in the Middle East, pre-Islamist Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.  Who became incensed when Israel invaded Gaza in an attempt to stop the incessant lobbing of rockets into Israel, accusing Israel of unmitigated aggression. 

Aggravated by the purported blockade-busting Turkish ship carrying 'humanitarian aid' to Gaza, complete with on-board 'activists' who violently attacked Israeli naval commandos boarding the ship, who then responded by defending themselves and in the process dispatching seven of the Turkish 'activists' in self-defence.

The F-4 reconnaissance jet certainly proved its mission to test Turkish air defences - or, alternately, testing the responsiveness of Syrian radar.  Deputy Prime Minister Arinc made reference to Syrian air "elements" having violated Turkish air space no fewer than five occasions "recently", but Turkey had withheld itself from responding violently as Syria had done.

And while Syria claimed that the plane was shot by short-range anti-aircraft fire, proving its contention that the plane was flying low inside Syrian territory, Mr. Arinc insisted the plane was taken down by a laser-guided or heat-guided missile, fully capable of striking the plane in international airspace.  After the plane had left Syrian airspace in response to warnings from Turkish radar operators, they received no advance warning before being struck.

"The rules of engagement of the Turkish armed forces have changed given this new development.  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", warned Prime Minister Erdogan, addressing the ruling AK party in Ankara.

"If Syrian soldiers try to organize a cross border attack or try to hit targets within Turkey, like they did a few months ago, then the Turkish army will hit targets in Syria", stated Umit Ozdag, an analyst of Turkish defence policy.  "If they were to hit a Turkish airplane a second time, it could cause a war between the two countries."

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