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MURAT YETKİN

murat.yetkin@hurriyet.com.tr

MURAT YETKİN > Will it end up in war?

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Will the confrontation started by Syria’s downing of a Turkish reconnaissance plane end up with war?

The answer, especially after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmat Davutoğlu’s detailed interview on state chanmel TRT on June 24, is no; it’s not that far yet.

But it is also clear from the interview that Turkey will not let Syria get away with the incident. 
Ankara’s call to the international community can be summarized in a few lines:

- Syria’s attack on the Turkish plane is deliberate and it should pay for it.

- Payment does not necessarily mean war, there are other options.

- Turkey doesn’t want war, but is keeping all options on the table.

Aiming for control over any possible confrontation with Syria as part of its crisis management strategy, the Turkish government is still at the “collecting data and sharing information” stage. The next stage is likely to come when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses his Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) group in Parliament tomorrow.

Why not today? That question has two answers, according to official sources talking to the Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity. 

First, some more time is needed for diplomacy. There are scheduled meetings with the European Union, NATO and possibly the United Nations in which the Syrian situation is going to be discussed. Plus there might be some low-key diplomacy, for example by Iran to convince Syria that the last thing it can ask for nowadays is another confrontation with Turkey.

Second, Turkey wants to see the search and rescue work for two Air Force pilots concluded. Still, there is no indication that they are alive and the government thinks three days of search without any trace would be enough to call them at least missing in action. That brings us to Tuesday.

Another question: If Iran, Russia or any other diplomatic power could convince Syria to apologize from Turkey and offer to pay compensation for the loss, will that be enough to close the case? That is the case with Israel over the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in 2010 in which nine Turkish citizens were killed by Israeli commandos in international waters.

“No, that will not be enough,” one official source told the Daily News. “First of all we have not asked Syria to do so; it will be up to Damascus. Second, such a case will of course decrease the tension and sets another equation. But, third, it will not close the case; Syria, for example, should at least forget about its patrols along the Turkish border that sometimes result in violations, even with an apology.” 

It is clear that the incident will result in increased pressure on Syria and its supporters, mainly Russia. But what Bashar al-Assad cares for seems to be keeping his chair and the Russian naval base in Tartus strong, whatever the cost, also knowing that neither the Turkish government, nor the opposition and people want war without being directly attacked. Therefore, yes, Turkey will do everything to make Syria pay for the attack but the incident is likely to add another load to the government’s Syria policy.

June/25/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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Sam Steel

6/26/2012 8:57:56 AM

@Turk Uzan, May be you have not heard the latest news (over 10 years ago) Syria expelled the PKK leader and stopped the support. That's why Syria and Turkey were "Friends" until just under 2 years ago

Sam Steel

6/25/2012 11:51:19 PM

@Tamer: How is it any of Turkey's business what is going on internally in Syria? So what now, Turkey is playing the role of America "protector of human rights" in the region? I don't see Erdogan breaking a sweet over civilians slaughtered and heads decapitated by the terrorists that are operating from Turkish territory, if anything it is earning them more weapons. So no, this is not happening because "Syria is killing its own people" rather because turkey stock its nose where it doesn't belong

Turk Uzan

6/25/2012 9:17:21 PM

@ Sam steel, Syria has been supporting, arming and helping the PKK for over 20/30 years. @ Peter Kypros. You know very well it is NOT justified to shoot without warning. Greeks cross our territory many times as do our jets cross Greek space. This happens during excersizes, it's not a big deal .. You're supposed to contact the aircraft and warn them, then escort them out of your territory. This is what is normal. Not shooting, then denying you knew it was a Turkish jet. What did they think?UFO?

Turk Uzan

6/25/2012 9:12:45 PM

@ Yousif Yacoub, we would WARN that jet/aircraft/plane and we would escort it out of our territory like we have done many times with all our neighbors. Aircrafts cross territory accidentally from time to time. EVEN if it's for spy reasons (Israeli and Russian jets crossing our territory for example) you DO NOT shoot an aircraft of a state you're not at war with without any prior waring! @ Blue dottorel, Turkey does not have to warn ANYONE, you warn before you SHOOT.

Murat

6/25/2012 7:32:15 PM

It has been reported that Turkish airspace has been violated 114 times this year alone by half a dozen countries including Syria. No one was shot down. Syria only recently fired into a camp in Turkey wounding many including a policeman. No war was started. Maybe they should have.

Yousif Yacoub

6/25/2012 7:04:39 PM

The facts are seemly fabricated and manipulated. What would be the military respond if a Syrian aircraft would penetrate the Turkish airspace?. Could someone answer me?. The airforce defence are reacting spontaneously and independently when an aggressive body would invade their supposed national space. They would not be waiting for a command from mr Assad!. It is a matter of seconds. Therefore, blaming the Syrian government is completely unjustified and unfair. Wisdom is needed.

Blue Dotterel

6/25/2012 6:02:40 PM

Turkey needs to apologize to Syria for invading its airspac during an armed conflict. Turkey should have warned Syria that its planes would be flying near its territorial waters, then pilot "error" in flying well within Syria's territorial limits may not have resulted in the tragedy. However, based on the facts, this more and more looks like a NATO instigated provocation to justify a NATO bombing campaign against Syrian infrastructure and civilians simple to that in Libya.

Rimon Tree

6/25/2012 4:00:18 PM

@ Sam I agree with you, this is a really crooked game, who knows who are the players and who is luring whom into the war trap?

Tamer Aslantas

6/25/2012 12:29:44 PM

@Sam Steel. You are right about a lot of things but Syria should not think that it is a match against Turkey. If Syria would've not been killing it's own citizien this all wuld not happen. This is just the beginning of the destruction of Syria's government. We Turks are calm but when pushed we can be very aggressive!

dogan kemal ileri

6/25/2012 11:43:57 AM

I don't believe it !!! I actually totally agree with @US Observer.
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