06/26/2012, 00.00
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Ankara warns UN the jet shot down a "security threat" from Syria

The Turkish deputy prime minister declares that this "hostile act ... shall not be unpunished." Today, NATO meets to discuss a possible joint response to Syria. But Erdogan remains moderate and European countries exclude any military action.

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In a letter to the UN Security Council, the Turkish government defines Syria's shooting down of a military jet a regional "security threat". The deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc said yesterday at a press conference that the Syrian action "will not remain unpunished."

These strong comments come just hours from the NATO meeting, convoked by Ankara, under Article 4 of the Atlantic Alliance, that if a member feels threatened and subjected to an offense, that offense is seen as made to all members.

Bulent Arinc also said that the destruction of the jet by Syria is "a hostile act to the utmost."

On June 22 a Turkish Air Force F-4 Phantom entered Syrian air space. According to Ankara, it then immediately returned to international space where it was shot down by Damascus. Turkey says that Syria knew the identity of the aircraft and did not advise before firing. Damascus' version is that the plane was unknown and flying at 100 meters above the ground at a speed of 700-800 km / h, and it had to respond quickly to the threat.

In a press conference yesterday, Jihad Makdissi, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Damascus, said that "We have no hostile intentions against the Turkish people or the Turkish government ".

The incident has raised tensions between the two countries, already at a breaking over Ankara's support to rebels fighting against the Assad regime. So far, however, the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has remained fairly measured. On the other hand, the idea of ​​involving NATO in any military operation in the region now seems excluded. Yesterday, EU foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, promised to increase pressure on Assad, but also called on Turkey to show restraint. The Dutch minister said that "military intervention in Syria is off the table".

Meanwhile, searches continue in the Mediterranean for the two pilots of the Turkish jet.


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