Syria condemns Turkey for requesting missile deployment by NATO. – AlJazeera
Syria condemns Turkey for requesting missile deployment by NATO. – AlJazeera
A tense situation is unfolding between Turkey and Syria after the latter shot down a fighter jet belonging to the former. According to Turkish officials, one of their aircrafts was shot down while in international space. Authorities are now convening with NATO allies to decide what kind of measures should be taken in response. Syria claims that the jet crossed over to its airspace, which is a violation of its sovereignty.
Members of NATO will be gathering for a conference in Brussels to discuss the issue. No military action is expected at this point.
Jihad Makdissi, Syria’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, said that Syria was merely acting out of self-defense and dismissed claims that the aircraft was in international space. It was also reported in the Syrian media that the jet may have been on an espionage mission and flew over the area to spy on the country’s radar system located in Latakia.
Turkey has said that no actions will be taken until it has discussed the matter with NATO, but has warned that the incident will not go unpunished. The matter may escalate even further after a claim that a second plane was fired at while on the search for wreckage of the downed jet.
Taner Yildiz, Turkey’s Energy Minister, said that a possible response may be to cut off Syria’s electricity supplies, since Turkey currently supplies Syria with about 10 percent of its power.
Turkey has also leaked news that several high ranking military members from Syria have defected due to souring relations between the two nations. Syria, in the meantime, has vowed that it will not stand idly by if NATO responds in an aggressive nature.
From the start of the Syrian crisis, Turkey has taken a firm stance against Syria’s government and has provided a refuge for defectors. About 33,000 Syrians have crossed over to Turkey for shelter.
Turkia Have No Fear! The Jewish Country is here!
It is no big deal. You know. Offering assistance to countries who seek to place sanctions on you. And it really puts world politics in perspective. People come first. Then governments. Then schwarma.
Recently, the Turks were rocked by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake, according to their seismology center. The quake occurred in the east of the country in a town known as Ercis which sits on a geological fault line and may have killed and injured upwards of 1,000 people, and collapsed 45 buildings. 10 other buildings have fallen in the city of Van.
The Telegraph reports:
Emergency teams were trying to rescue people believed to be trapped in a building in Van, near the Iranian border, state-run news agency Anatolian said. It said 50 injured people had been taken to hospital in Van, but did not give details on how serious their injuries were.
The Kandilli Observatory said the earthquake struck at 10.41 GMT and was 5km (3 miles) deep. The U.S. Geological Survey earlier reported that the magnitude was 7.6. Television pictures showed damaged buildings and vehicles, crushed under falling masonry, and panicked residents wandering in the streets.
Turkish media said phone lines and electricity had been cut off. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was heading to Van to see the damage, media reported. Aftershocks continued after the initial quake, whose epicentre was at the village of Tabanli, north of Van city, the agency said.
In Hakkari, a town around 100km (60 miles) south of the city of Van in southeastern Turkey, a building could be felt swaying for around 10 seconds during the quake. There was no immediate sign of any casualties or damage in Hakkari, around two and half hours drive through the mountains from Van, around 20km from the epicentre.
Major geological faultlines cross Turkey and small earthquakes are a near daily occurrence. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in northwest Turkey. Two people were killed and 79 injured in May when an earthquake shook Simav in northwest Turkey.
Despite recent animosity between these two governments it is Israel to the rescue, as it was recently when natural disasters occurred in countries such as Japan and Pakistan.
Note however, Turkey offered its aid to Israel during a massive wildfire that consumed a formidable chunk of Israel’s Carmel region late last year, and sent firefighting aircrafts.
Ehud Barak said Israel is offering to aid the Turkish government in any way it can. The Geophysical Institute of Israel said the quake was also felt in residential high rises in central Tel Aviv. Barak instructed the head of the Defense Ministry’s diplomatic-security bureau, Amos Gilad, to contact Turkish officials and offer them “any aid that they may need.” The Foreign Ministry officials have also initiated contact with Ankara in order to estimate the extent of aid required, if at all.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a statement that, following orders by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, he contacted Turkish authorities, saying “Israel’s embassy in Ankara had already issued the offer to Turkish officials.”
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has ordered the IDF’s Home Front Command to prepare for the possible launching of a special delegation to the Turkish disaster zone.
In other news, the following report is from yesterday’s NYTimes:
ISTANBUL — More than 49 Kurdish insurgents were killed in the first two days of a new Turkish military offensive against P.K.K. rebels in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq, the military said Saturday.
The military began the operation, involving heavy air support and more than 10,000 troops, on Thursday, a day after an attack by the P.K.K., or Kurdish Worker’s Party, killed 24 soldiers and injured 18 in the province of Hakkari, in one of the deadliest single-day attacks in recent years.
Part of the operation has extended into the autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, a mountainous border area where P.K.K. militants often take shelter. Turkey has staged cross-border operations or bombardment several times in recent years, and it is a thorny issue in Turkey’s relationship with Iraq.
Now that the United States is leaving Iraq, trumpeting triumphantly in foreign policy, DebkaFile reports:
The eight-year US military presence in Iraq ends therefore leaving Iran sitting pretty on its two key strategic goals:
1. The exit of American soldiers, whose presence in Iraq since the 2003 invasion was deemed in Tehran a continuous threat to its borders. US military involvement in Afghanistan is seen in the same light.
2. A weak Shiite-led government in place in Baghdad, heavily dependent on Tehran’s will. Torn by strife among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, Iraq is in no state to obstruct Iran’s hegemonic plans for the Persian Gulf and Syria.
The Iranian regime’s right hand for achieving those goals was – and is – Al Qods commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the man also accused by Washington of masterminding the assassination plot.
Washington is well aware of Soleimani’s capacity for interfering with American interests. Indeed he crows about it.
Prime Minister of the Jewish Country, Binyamin Netanyahu, recently said he “hopes a way will be found to overcome the differences with Turkey,” he added that “we do not want a further downgrading of the relations… Israel has a right to defend itself… We do not need to apologize for [stopping] weapons smuggling by Hamas, and we do not need to apologize for working to defend our children, our citizens and our cities.”
So that’s that!
Meanwhile, reportedly, overwrought diplomatic vibrations between Israel and Turkey since the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in May of 2010 and more specifically following the release of the Palmer Commission report, have not seem to have shaken routine business relations between the two countries.
This says a lot about money. This does not say much about Turks and Jews. But actually, according to the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, bilateral trade increased to $1.1b in exports to Turkey between January and July of 2011, and Turkish exports to the Jewish country have jumped to $1.25b. Israel imported $1.8b of goods from Turkey in 2010 and exported $1.3b. 70% of Israeli exports to Turkey are chemicals and refined oil products. Other exports include metals, machinery, furniture, wood and paper products.
In a loosely related scoop of desert sand, a senior Israeli official warned it would only worsen ramshackle diplomatic standings with the Jewish Country were Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit the Gaza Strip, where rockets have been fired and terrorists infiltrating the Israeli border and murdering Jews since August.
It is however confirmed that Erdogan will pay a two-day visit to Egypt starting September 12th and this is when he may cross over into Gaza – retracing the steps taken recently by Hamas murderers who opened fire on an Egged bus on the road to Eilat a couple of weeks ago.
The senior Israeli official says Erdogan would hurt Turkey’s relations with the United States as well by visiting Gaza. The move would also weaken Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas because a trip to Hamas-controlled Gaza would challenge his position as the sole representative of the Palestinians.
Turkish Deputy Premier Bulent Arinc said that Erdogan was scheduled to meet with the head of Egypt’s ruling military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi as well as other leading Egyptian politicians and intellectuals during the visit. The visit is expected to produce important decisions reflecting the strength of relations between Egypt and Turkey. Apparently Turkey hopes for reforms and elections in Egypt to proceed in accordance with the hopes and wishes of the people. The Turkish deputy prime minister says Erdogan may possibly cross into Gaza at the Rafah crossing after making arrangements with Egyptian authorities.
On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced at a press conference that Ankara is to expel Israel’s ambassador, and freeze all military agreements. This is in response to Netanyahu’s refusal to apologize for the flotilla incident. Davutoglu also says Turkey will be taking measures for freedom of maritime movement in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, will no longer recognize the blockade on the Gaza Strip (along with Egypt).
The Turkish political columnist Asli Aydintasbas says it is unlikely fences will be mended between Israel and Turkey unless Jerusalem meets Ankara’s demands. “Knowing the prime minister’s personality and knowing the importance of this issue for Turkey, I do not see how Turkey can accept anything short of an apology…” says Aydintasbas.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is pushing for a solution to the diplomatic crisis or at least says he is in favor of one:
“Both sides are very important countries in the region… Their improving relationship, normal relationship will be very important in addressing all the situations Middle East.”