Turkey ready to respond any attack to Suleyman Shah tomb in Syria, FM Davutoğlu says
VANForeign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has reiterated that Turkey has the right to take all precautions to protect the tomb of Süleyman Shah in Syria following clashes around the shrine, which is recognized as Turkish territory.
“As of now, there has been no [move on] our soldiers or our land there. But in the event of such a threat, we are ready to take all sorts of precautions,” Davutoğlu told reporters in the eastern province of Van on March 14.
His statement came after clashes between opposition groups the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) intensified in the region and the al-Qaeda-affiliated organization took control of a nearby town. The Tomb of Suleyman Shah, who was the founder of the Seljuk Empire in Anatolia and died in 1086, is located in the governorate of Aleppo. The tomb sits 25 kilometers from the Turkey-Syria border and remains under Turkish sovereignty under a 1921 treaty signed between Turkey and France, which was then the colonial power in Syria. That agreement was renewed after Syria gained independence in 1936.
Any attack against the tomb either from “the regime, from radical groups of from anybody” would be subjected to retaliation from Turkey, which would take all measures for the protection of that land, Davutoğlu said.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry, General Staff and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) held a meeting on March 13 on the security issue of the tomb, said the minister, noting that the prime minister and the president were also informed.
A Turkish flag flies over the tomb and a small garrison of around 25 troops is permanently stationed there.