Turkey issued diplomatic note to Syria for relocation of historic tomb
Sevil Erkuş - email@example.com ANKARA
AA PhotoTurkey delivered a diplomatic note to the Syrian consulate in Istanbul to inform Damascus that the Tomb of Süleyman Şah was being temporarily moved to a new site in Syria corresponding to the size of the previous one, to the north of Eşmesi village, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.
Turkish soldiers have taken control of one hectare of land, 180 meters away from the Turkish border, on the basis of its rights in international law, the note said, adding that the move did not constitute any change to the status of the tomb and its annex.
The diplomatic note was delivered after the military operation was conducted on early Feb. 22, the source added.
The tomb and memorial outpost is a Turkish territory within the borders of Syria as per agreements concluded in accordance with international law.
Soldiers trapped for eight months
Some 39 Turkish soldiers, guarding the military outpost, were besieged by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters for months. Turkish authorities were having difficulty in contacting the troops and were not able to change the guard for eight months.
In March, ISIL reportedly threatened Ankara and demanded in a YouTube video that Turkey lower its flag and withdraw from the site within three days.
In October 2014, the Turkish Air Force conducted an air military drill on the defense of the tomb in northern Syria to show solidarity for the trapped troops at the military post, highlighting the army’s resolve to respond to any military attack on land considered to be Turkish territory.
Air Force Commander Gen. Akın Öztürk inspected the military exercise in a nearly two-hour flight on Oct. 21, 2014.
However, media reports about the siege of Turkish soldiers at the tomb by jihadist fighters, who have control of nearby villages, were denied by Turkish officials.
“It’s definitely not true. It’s out of question,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Feb. 20.