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NATO 'Stands' With Turkey But Does Not Invoke Article 5

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, addressing members of parliament on June 26, said the Turkish military will respond to any future violations of its border by military units from Syria.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, addressing members of parliament on June 26, said the Turkish military will respond to any future violations of its border by military units from Syria.
By RFE/RL
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has vowed that NATO will "stand together with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity" amid heightened tensions with Syria following the downing of a Turkish jet last week.

Rasmussen said that the security of the alliance was "indivisible" but that NATO diplomats who met in Brussels on June 26 did not discuss whether to invoke Article 5 of NATO's charter, which would categorize the downing of the jet as an attack on the entire alliance.

"We consider these acts to be unacceptable and condemn it in the strongest terms," Rasmussen said. "It is another example of the Syrian authorities' disregard for international norms, peace and security, and human life."

Ankara said earlier it would ask its NATO allies to invoke Article 5 to help secure Turkey's border against threats from Syria.

Rasmussen would not discuss details presented by Turkish diplomats to the North Atlantic Council, which includes ambassadors of the 28 NATO countries.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told parliament on June 26 that the Turkish military will respond to any future violations of its border by military units from Syria.

"After this latest incident, we have now passed to a new state," he said. "We will never tolerate, nor will we let go unpunished, any security threat created by the Syrian regime on our borders."

Erdogan said Syrian helicopters had violated Turkish airspace five times recently and that Turkey had not responded. But he said that Turkey will from now on "respond to all violations on the Syrian border," warning the Syrian regime "not to make the mistake of testing" Turkey's "determination" and capacity to respond.
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi called the Turkish jet in "clear breach of Syrian sovereignty."
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi called the Turkish jet in "clear breach of Syrian sovereignty."

"The rules of engagement of the Turkish armed forces have changed in accordance with this new state," Erdogan said. "Any 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."

In a letter to the UN Security Council, Turkey rejected Syrian allegations that the Turkish jet violated Syrian sovereignty, describing the incident as a "hostile act" by Syria and a "serious threat to peace and security."

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said for the first time that Syrian forces had opened ground fire on a Turkish search-and-rescue plane shortly after the downing of the reconnaissance jet, but did not say if the search-and-rescue plane was hit.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen briefs the media after a meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels on June 26.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen briefs the media after a meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels on June 26.
"Our Foreign Ministry and chief of staff contacted Syrian authorities after this event and the fire was stopped," Arinc said.

The unarmed RF-4E reconnaissance jet was shot down 1.6 kilometers inside international airspace. Two Turkish pilots are still missing. Ankara says the plane was not spying on Syria.

Syrian officials have said that the Turkish plane violated Syrian airspace and the Syrian military was right to shoot the plane down. Damascus said the plane was hit by a short-range antiaircraft gun to prove that the plane was inside Syrian territory.

Arinc, however, said Turkey believed the plane was hit with a laser-guided or heat-guided missile capable of hitting the plane in international airspace.

"The data that we got shows that the plane was shot down by a heat-seeking or laser-guided surface-to-air missile," Arinc said. "As our plane's early warning system did not respond, we do not think that it was a radar-guided missile. Naturally, we can call this as an hostile act as our plane was targeted without any warning."

The Turkish deputy prime minister admitted the jet mistakenly strayed into Syrian airspace but said it left after warnings from Turkish radar operators.

He also said that the plane received no warning from Syrian forces during its five-minute flight inside Syrian territory.

"There is no doubt that Syrians deliberately targeted our plane in international airspace," Arinc said. "It was an extremely hostile action."

Reports from the Turkish-Syrian border say Syrian government troops in recent days have shelled Syrian refugees who have slipped across into Turkish territory.

WATCH: Amateur video apparently shot on June 26 shows gunfire and explosions in Qudsiya, a suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Heavy Fighting Encroaches On Damascus i
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June 26, 2012
Amateur video apparently shot on June 26 shows gunfire and explosions in Qudsiya, a suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus. The fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels is reported to be the worst in the region of the capital since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began 16 months ago. (Reuters video)


With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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by: Alex from: LA
June 26, 2012 06:58
Armenians say: Denial of Armenian Genocide is an attack on humanity. Turkey is not NATO, it is a member of NATO for one reason to keep any NATO members of doing anything concrete about Turkey's role in Armenian Genocide and others against its christian minorities in 1914-1920's

by: james from: prine
June 26, 2012 07:39
syria is provoking for a war and their army is trying to show to a splitting up Syria that they are in charge by shooting a 45 years old plane. Turkey have so many F16's and harons, if they really wanted to spy they could do it much differently. F4 s are used all around the world for training etc. and the border of syria and Turkey is always a blur, syrian and turkish planes always cross over each others site momentarily. This has been happening since essads dad was in power . This thing only shows essad is not in charge of the country and he is a very weak man with no control of his generals.
In Response

by: Mandy from: London
June 26, 2012 08:16
totally agree, the problem is Essad is not in charge of his generals and family. I dont think Turkey should go to war over this, but it is a serious issue, if you are prepared to hit a Nato plane, than you should be ready for sanctions. By the way Alex from LA what does this article has to do with the Armenian issue? Might it be that you are from Syria not LA?

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 26, 2012 16:47
Wow, another demonstration of the strength of NATO: so, Bashar just shoots down a Turkish plane, apparently killing two Turkish pilots and NATO only says: "This kind of acts is anacceptable, but we will not do a damn thing about it".
It looks like from now on Bashar is not just eating the "unarmed" Syrian "civilians", but also starts killing "unarmed" Turkish "civilians" - like the two pilots of the plane that was shot down.

by: RD
June 26, 2012 19:19
Turkey is looking for an excuse to castigate Syria and be perceived as a hero with its NATO allies. Turkey always tries to cover its sordid past and present by trying to do acts that it wants others to think are acts of kindness. Erdogan is a vulgar and cheap opportunist. He wants to show everyone he is taking a tough stand on Syria to rally everyone to his side. Whatever happened to Davutoglu's policy of "no problems with neighbours". The Turkish airplane reaches as far as Tartus, and Turkey claims it was not violating Syrian airspace when it was shot down. Best thing Turks can do if they ever get their heads out of the sand is get rid of this bozo. Erdogan is an embarassment to Turkey, but I guess Turks are used to it.

by: Wulfdane from: USA
June 27, 2012 05:19
Article 5 will not be invoked, as this incident would not qualify. Article 5 was meant to protect NATO countries from attacks, this was an isolated incident and clearly Syria is not preparing to go war with Turkey.

Now if Syria was in fact launching military attacks against Turkey, obviously Article 5 could be, should be and would be invoked. But Syria is not that stupid, especially when the government is fighting insurgents.

Another war in the Middle East is not in anyone's best interest and nor should we be looking to make war.

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