WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki commented during a press briefing on Sept. 17 on the downing of a Syrian helicopter by the Turkish army a day earlier. REUTERS Photo
Turkey has been “fully transparent” about the rules of engagement in its military stance against Syria, the U.S. State Department said Sept. 17, a day after the Turkish army downed a Syrian helicopter violating its airspace.
U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said the United States had remained in close contact with Turkish officials after the incident.
“We note that the Turkish government has been fully transparent about the rules of engagement it is operating under since the Syrian government shot down a Turkish aircraft last year,” Psaki told reporters referring to the Turkish F-4 Phantom warplane crashed into the Mediterranean on June 22, 2012, after being shot down by Syria.
Psaki said the helicopter was shot down after violating Turkish airspace and ignoring warnings transmitted by Turkish officials.
The State Department spokesperson also emphasized that as a member of NATO, Washington was committed to Turkey’s defense.
“Turkey is a friend and NATO
ally, and we are committed to Turkey’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Psaki said.
Shortly earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
also said the army was instructed to act according to the rules of engagement in case of a border violation.
“When the warnings were not heeded, the Turkish Armed Forces executed the rules of engagement and did what was necessary,” he told reporters during a press conference in Ankara
with Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
had also invoked the rules of engagement, adding that the army had performed “a punitive action” for the border violation.