No-fly zone reports denied by Ankara
A French Mirage 2000 fighter jet refuels with an airborne Boeing C-135 refuelling tanker aircraft from the Istres military air base during a refuelling operation above the Mediterranean Sea March 25, 2011. France continues its military air sorties over Libya with NATO indicating that the no fly zone operation could last three months. REUTERS/Jean-Paul PelissierTurkish Foreign Ministry sources have denied reports that Turkey sought NATO support to create a no-fly zone near Syria.
A British daily reported yesterday that Ankara “has requested that the alliance draw up contingency plans for a no-fly zone to protect Turkish territory in the event of further acts of Syrian aggression,” citing an unnamed U.S. diplomat.
“The Turks purposefully left it vague and didn’t provide many specifics,” the anonymous source was quoted as saying by the daily. “But they also didn’t give [NATO] members a heads-up before the meeting that they’d be asking for this and everyone was surprised.”
Turkish Foreign Ministry sources, however, yesterday denied the content of the report, adding that such a measure was not on the agenda during the NATO meeting.
Upon a request by Turkey, NATO held a meeting on June 27 to discuss the developments after Syria shot down a Turkish military jet on June 22. NATO strongly condemned as “unacceptable” Syria’s downing of the Turkish jet and expressed “solidarity” with Turkey.