West urges calm, Russia cautious

West urges calm, Russia cautious

BRUSSELS / BERLIN - Hürriyet Daily News
West urges calm, Russia cautious

EPA Photo

The international community united yesterday to condemn an Oct. 3 attack on Turkish soil that killed five people while urging Ankara to show restraint.

The European Union called for restraint from all sides while condemning the strike that came from Syria.
“I once again urge the Syrian authorities to put an immediate end to the violence and fully respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all neighboring countries,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement. Ashton separately called Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to offer her condolences.

Echoing Ashton’s remarks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for calm and slammed the Syrian attacks “in the strongest possible terms.”

‘Restraint is the order of the day’

“We call on all sides to exercise restraint. ... We are on the side of Turkey, and Foreign Minister [Guido Westerwelle] has had contacts with Turkey,” she said. “But at the same time, restraint is the order of the day.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague told Reuters the Turkish response was “understandable” but warned against an escalation. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also said in Istanbul that Turkey had every right to respond to an attack on its soil but called for a measured handling of the situation.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon encouraged Davutoğlu to “keep open all channels of communication with the Syrian authorities with a view to lessening any tension that could build up as a result of the incident,” spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

France said the United Nations Security Council had to respond quickly and firmly to Syria in condemning the mortar attack on Turkey. Turkey is also demanding that the U.N. Security Council take action against Damascus. Diplomats at the United Nations said the council was expected to approve a text that condemned the shelling in “the strongest terms” and urged Syria “to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors.” Late Oct. 3, NATO said it stood by its member Turkey and urged the Syrian regime to end “flagrant violations of international law” that it described as “a clear and present danger” to an ally following Turkey’s call for emergency meeting.

In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich called for "restraint." "We call on both sides to exercise restraint, to respect the mutual sovereignty," he said. "We believe it is important to adopt this measured approach, based on facts," he added.

Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), also strongly condemned Syria. “Syria must act in a way so as to respect the sovereignty rights of Turkey and all its neighbors,” said İhsanoğlu.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke by phone with Davutoğlu and assured Ankara that it had full U.S. backing, the State Department said. Clinton called the tensions “very, very dangerous” and denounced Syria for its shelling. A senior U.S. defense official was quoted as saying by CNN International that “at this point, there’s nothing to suggest it’s going to become a broader conflict.”