Main opposition leader: Turkey 'did what was necessary' by shooting down Syrian helicopter
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has dinner with Turkish army veterans in Ankara, Sept. 18. AA photoRepublican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu defended Sept. 18 the downing of a Syrian helicopter after committing an airspace violation, emphasizing that the Turkish army had already made known the rules of engagement adopted as a reaction to the F-4 shot down by Syria last year.
“The Turkish Republic had announced to the whole world that it had changed its rules of engagement. It had said what would happen if those rules were to be violated,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, during an event for veteran soldiers in Ankara.
“Therefore, the Syrian side also accepts that the rules had been transgressed. Turkey did what was necessary, this is how this incident should be seen,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that it should not be “exaggerated.” “We are for not using this incident as a source of tension and [hope] that both countries can continue their friendly ties,” he said.
President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had all emphasized that the Syrian helicopter was shot down after repeated warnings were issued, and had entered Turkish airspace by up to two kilometers.
The main opposition leader, however, criticized what he described as the increasing porousness of the border with Syria, insisting that the frontier line had almost become “inexistent.”
“Nobody knows who enters and who goes out. In fact, we don’t have a border with Syria, there is no border. This is the issue that we have to discuss,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
The CHP leader had taken a hard stance on the government a day earlier, slamming it for trying to engage a military operation in Syria.