We know the details on the jet but we won't tell, says US official
WASHINGTON - Hürriyet
President Barack Obama (R) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) leave after the family picture of the G20 Summit of Heads of State and Government in Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico on June 18, 2012. AFP Photo
U.S. officials know the details about a Turkish jet downed by Syria last month but have no intention of informing the press about them, according to U.S. State Department officials.
"Those in the American government who need to know [details] know them," the prominent official told daily Hürriyet during an interview. "But we will make no statements about the topics in question."
Declining to explain why a Pentagon official leaked rumors to the Wall Street Journal claiming that the jet was over Syrian waters when it was shot down, the unnamed official said the details mattered very little to the American government.
"Whether the jet was shot over Syrian territory or over international waters, or what it was shot with, what difference does it make? What matters to us is that it was downed,” the official said.
"Turkey thought the louder its statements were, the more believable they would be," the official said. "I guess that was why the prime minister made those statements. It's like an American shouting to someone who doesn't speak English. We, however, will not say anything on the matter."
Turkey and U.S. are "90 percent" on the same page on the crisis in Syria, the official said, citing Turkey's "more interventionist" attitude as a possible difference between the countries' views.
Several other NATO countries also have reservations about intervening, the official said without naming any specific members.
Why Obama never called
Some in Turkey have been debating the reason why U.S. President Barack Obama did not call Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan immediately following the downing of the jet even though the two leaders exchanged 13 phone calls in the last year.
Providing a possible reason for the lack of contact, the official said: “There are elections in the U.S. this year. And when foreign affairs are discussed during American elections, the only thing that matters is Israel's security. That should be taken into consideration in the progress of relations."
Differences in Syria may have also affected the situation.
"We clearly don't want to intervene in Syria," the official said. "But we cannot say that is a direct reason [for Obama not to call].”