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Turkey: Future Syrian action “will not go unanswered”

June 26th, 2012
05:32 PM ET

By Mick Krever

(CNN) - A Turkish diplomat on Tuesday gave a stark warning to his embattled neighbor, Syria. The threat came in the wake of the downing of a Turkish jet by the Syrian military.

“This type of action in the future will not go unanswered,” Namik Tan told CNN’s Ali Velshi.

In the wake of the Syrian military shooting down a Turkish jet, the Turkish ambassador to the U.S. put out a stark warning to his embattled neighbor.

Syria’s actions were “a grave violation of international norms,” he said.

Tan would not specify how Turkey would respond. But, he said, “We will choose the location, the timing, and also the methods of our reaction. That should be known.”

Speaking to parliament earlier Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country would change its rules of engagement toward Syria, treating any military approach as a threat.

Both governments have acknowledged that Syria shot down a Turkish fighter last Friday, but the specifics of the incident are in dispute. NATO, meeting Tuesday at Turkey’s behest, condemned the incident “in the strongest terms.”

Syria has insisted that it was justified in shooting down the Turkish jet because it violated Syrian airspace.

“The point is not that our plane is in the Syrian airspace,” Tan said. “The fact is that they have downed our airplane in an illegitimate way.”

The Turkish jet, Tan said, was on a routine training mission, with all its identification systems on, and was not given any warning by the Syrians.

“I think all the blame should go on the part of Syria,” he said.

A “different” regime

“I think [the] Syrian regime should step down,” Tan said. “Assad should stop his atrocities against [his] own people.”

Erdogan has repeatedly said Assad should step down over the past several months.

It is a call Erdogan has made many times over the past months. This is particularly surprising given the closeness of the former allies. In 2009, Turkey and Syria conducted unprecedented joint military exercises.

After 16 months of brutal crackdown, Assad’s government has turned into “a different Syrian regime,” Tan said.

The Syrian regime, he said, “cannot just continue their atrocities, their killings.”

Tan insisted that Turkey was not arming, and would never arm, Syrian rebels. “There [are] no quick solutions or magical formulas,” he said.

The only way to remove Assad from power was to support the opposition democratically, the ambassador said.

“That, I think, at the end, will stop the atrocities and would force the Syrian regime to step down.”

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Lee Enfield

    I don't believe for a minute that the Turkish plane was there for training and monitoring (not likely to do both at the same time I would think), but it's good to see the Turkish finally take a stand.

    June 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  2. Lachman

    It's high time that the United Nations authorize Nato, the United States, Britian, Germany and France to invade Syria and topple dictator al-Assad's regime and help restore democracy in Syria.

    June 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  3. Gazza

    But presumably not time for democracy in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar or Israel. And you know which government had the most democratic elections in the Middle East? The Palestinian Occupied Territories.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:00 am | Reply
  4. njeru

    The UN, nato ,US my question is? how many more syrians should die before you come to their rescue from this barbaric aassad. let the world know the figure!!!! i negotiation cant work try another means

    June 27, 2012 at 1:36 am | Reply
  5. Madmax

    It is now time that Mr. Kofi Annan and UN should admit that the peace deal proposed by Mr. Annan & UN has failed and need for new initiative. We still face of Annan in many media coverage, but after so many dead lines, Syria chaos is going on from both sides. So why & what is UN is waiting for??? There is definitely a need for political initiative and from some powerful nations within UN. Presence of UN observers in Syria under present plan yielded no result and that wasted some money...!!!

    June 27, 2012 at 2:39 am | Reply
  6. Efficiency

    There are 3 different well developed radar systems which able to see what happened exactly, excluding Turkish one. One of them in Cyprus and operating by UK. Second one in and operating by Israel. The third one in Syria and operating by Russia. Why the international community is not asking them about what they seen and what is their analyses?

    June 27, 2012 at 6:10 am | Reply
  7. Murat

    I think people around the world must understand that the Turkey's ruling party AKP

    has been increasing the tension between Syria and Turkey due to their political

    agenda. We don't watch world media continuously reporting from Turkey while its

    people (journalist, army officers, political, university students...etc.) being

    jailed, and they have been in jail for years and everyone who lives in Turkey knows

    that any opposing view in Turkey current being oppressed in the name of so-called

    advanced democracy. Civil liberties are taken away, their religious opinions being

    enforced in every segment of the life (education, healthcare, political system, work

    environment...etc.) I am afraid as a Turkish/American citizen that Turkey is being

    pushed into a war in which no politician or rich people going to die. Like we have it

    here, poor people with the hope of college and incentives will go to war and die

    (Average Joes) only difference may be in Turkey's people will die in the name of

    Martrdom and Motherland. No doubt if there are atrocities in Syria as a neighboring

    country, and we would sympathize w/ that and there are so many ways of punishing

    their government, but I don't believe supplying them w/ weapon and terrorizing

    innocent people is the way to do it. Especially, Turkey is a country that has been

    suffering from terrorism for decades, shame on the ruling party and its prime

    minister(AKP) and they will have the blood of innocent people from both sides. Syria

    has been in de-facto civil war for over a year; it was a very irresponsible for the

    decision makers of Turkey to send that plane over that so close to their border,

    unless there were some other motives. Another question I would like to ask is what

    happened in Egypt, Libya...etc. the countries that we had taken democracy to? We

    don't hear big media giants talking about those countries anymore. Have we become too

    naive to believe that there is no other agenda than the goodness of the people?

    June 27, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Reply

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