NATO backs Turkey, slams Syria for downing jet
Brussels: Turning the heat on Syria’s Assad regime, NATO on Tuesday stood strongly on Turkey’s side, calling Syria’s shooting down of the Turkish jet “unacceptable”.
Condemning Syria`s act of shooting down the Turkish jet, NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, "We consider this act to be unacceptable and condemn it in the strongest terms…It is another example of the Syrian authorities` disregard for international norms, peace and security, and human life."
"We discussed the shooting down of a Turkish aircraft by Syria. All allies have approved a statement setting out our firm position, "said Rasmussen following the meeting of North Atlantic Council of NATO.
Turkey and Syria, once allies, are now pitted against each other in a furore that began last Friday when a Turkish jet F4 Phantom was shot down by Syria.
Turkey claims the jet was in the international space when shot at, but Syria says, it was in their airspace.
Protesting the gunning down of its jet strongly, Turkey invoked article 4 of NATO`s founding treaty and requested a meeting of NATO members to decide on the response.
So, the twenty eight member states of NATO met today here at Brussels and discussed the issue of Syrian downing of Turkish jet.
NATO appeared supporting its member Turkey firmly as it Rasmussen said, "Let me make this clear. The security of the alliance is indivisible. We stand together with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity.”
In his most bitter reaction till date, Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan warned Syria of its wrath saying, "Everybody should know that Turkey`s wrath is just as strong and devastating as its friendship is valuable."
"Our rational response should not be perceived as weakness, our mild manners do not mean we are a tame lamb," he said.
Turkey also shot off a letter to the UN Security Council saying that the incident posed “a serious threat to peace and security in the region."
The letter to the Security Council further condemned the "hostile act by the Syrian authorities against Turkey`s national security".
Turkey`s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Aric said that Syria`s actions "would not go unpunished", but clarified that it was not seeking military action.
Though, the NATO meet and the Turkey shooting off a letter to the UN does heighten the seriousness of the recent standoff between Turkey and Syria, but chances are slim that it will slacken Assad’s grip on Syrian regime as NATO look reluctant to repeat a Libya there.
With Agency Inputs
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