Stating that the attack opened a new phase in Turkish-Syrian relations, Erdo?an said that it is now clear that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad’s regime has become a clear and present danger to Turkey’s security.”
Noting that from now on Turkey will no longer tolerate any menacing threats from the Syrian side, he said any approaching military offensive from the Syrian side will be regarded as a threat to the Turkish military. He noted that the Turkish army will be put on alert regarding any threat from the Syrian side and that all attacks will be considered as such.
“However valuable Turkey’s friendship is, its wrath is just as strong. Don’t take our common sense and cautious approach as a sign of passivity,” Erdo?an said on Tuesday during his Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting.
Bringing tensions with Syria to a whole new level, Turkey said on Sunday that its military jet was shot down outside of Syrian territorial waters and dismissed the country’s statements that it was not a hostile act.
Stating that Turkey is totally in the right over “the downing of an unarmed reconnaissance jet in international airspace,” Erdo?an underlined that the Turkish jet was targeted over international waters but fell in Syrian waters. “There are some circles both inside and outside Turkey who are trying to distort this fact,” he added.
He added that the Turkish jet violated Syria’s airspace mistakenly and briefly, but had been warned by Turkish radio operators and shortly left Syrian airspace. “Radar findings are all clear. They downed a reconnaissance jet that was on a solo test flight,” he said. “This is a hostile act.”
Stating that the downing of the jet by Syria has nothing to do with a violation of Syria’s airspace, Erdo?an said Turkey’s airspace has been violated by other countries 114 times since January 1 of this year. “Syrian helicopters also violated our air space five times recently. We warned them to leave. Syria’s position is also clear evidence that our jet was hit in a hostile act. Syria attacked the second rescue plane with harassing fire and this is proof that the act was deliberate,” he added.
“The plane that was downed was not the plane of Recep Tayyip Erdo?an or the AK Party. But it was Turkey’s plane shot down in international airspace,” an angry Erdo?an said. He urged Turkish political parties to avoid seeking excuses for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s administration and to side with the government on this “national issue.”
Erdo?an also lashed out at the Syrian administration and reiterated support for the Syrian opposition. “The Syrian administration is tyrannical and not just,” he said. “Turkey will be in solidarity with our brothers in Syria until a new regime is in place.”
“Turkey will be in solidarity with our brothers in Syria until a new regime arrives,” he added. “We will offer all the possible support to liberate the Syrians from dictatorship.”