Turkish FM Davutoğlu, Kerry brief each other on Syria
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu speaks to the media during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. AP Photo
The Turkish and American top diplomats briefed each other over developments regarding Syria after a Turkish jet downed a Syrian helicopter on Sept. 16, amid ongoing efforts for the U.N. Security Council to adopt a strong resolution.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu informed Secretary of State John Kerry about the downing of a Syrian helicopter by a Turkish jet and repeated that the Syrian chopper had violated Turkey’s airspace.
For his part, Kerry updated Davutoğlu on the efforts of France, the United Kingdom and the United States to convince Russia to adopt a strong resolution about the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, through the insertion of Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter that allows for the use of force in the case of non-compliance with the deal brokered by Washington and Moscow on Sept. 14 in Geneva.
The two ministers also reviewed the U.N. report on the Aug. 21 chemical attack in a Damascus suburb, which allegedly stated that the regime was responsible. Davutoğlu and Kerry are expected to meet in New York next week, where both will attend the U.N. General Assembly. New York will observe important meetings on Syria, with expectations that the much-anticipated Geneva 2 talks could be realized.
In the meantime, Turkish diplomats conveyed information to both the office of the U.N. Secretary-General and NATO over the helicopter attack. The information provided was no different to what Turkish authorities told the Turkish media, according to sources.
Turkey warns Syria not to retaliate over helicopter downing
Turkey warned Damascus Sept.18 it would "face the consequences" if it sought to avenge the downing of the Syrian military chopper this week, but said it did not believe a border attack was a retaliatory strike, AFP has reported.
A car bomb exploded at Syria's rebel-held Bab al-Hawa border crossing into Turkey on Tuesday, wounding at least 12 people, according to a monitoring group, a day after Turkish warplanes shot down a Syrian helicopter which Ankara claimed violated its airspace. Davutoğlu said Tuesday's bombing did not appear to be a revenge attack.
"Our security and intelligence units have been working on this but one should not reach an early conclusion that it was a retaliation," Davutoğlu told a press conference in Ankara.
"Such a retaliation against us within the Syrian territory cannot be considered," he said, warning: "The Syrian regime should know that it will face the consequences even if it thinks of a retaliation." Relations have deteriorated between once close allies Damascus and Ankara since the outbreak of the deadly conflict in Syria in March 2011.