BREAKING: #Turkey calls #Syria attack "hostile act" on #NATO

Follow clayclai on Twitter

Word on Twitter and CNN is that Turkey is officially officially calling the downing of its F-4 reconnaissance jet a "hostile act" and Al Jazeera English is reporting that tomorrow, at the meeting it called of the alliance, Turkey will ask them to consider the downing of the jet an attack on NATO. That means they will be invoking Article 5.

According to Fox News:

Asked if Turkey will insist on the activation of Article 5 of NATO, [Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent] Arinc said, "No doubt, Turkey has made necessary applications with NATO regarding Article 4 and Article 5."

"It should be known that within legality we will of course use all rights granted under international law until the end," Arinc said. "This also includes self-defense. This also includes retaliation many-fold. This includes all sanctions that can be applied to the aggressor state under international law. Turkey will not leave anything out on this issue. The public should be assured."

However Turkey also said today that it has no intention of going to war. After a seven-hour cabinet meeting on the incident, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told a news conference "Whatever is needed to be done will definitely be done within the framework of international law. We have no intention of going to war with anyone. We have no such intent,"

According to Barbara Plett of the BBC Turkeys letter to UNSC says captured radio communications show Syria fully aware of what it was doing when it shot down Turkish plane. Riaf al Asaad is saying that Turkey has reports that Assad ordered an attack on the Turkish air force in retaliation for Turkey hosting the defections.

According to the Ertugrul Apakan, Turkish ambassador to the UN:

“Radio communication among Syrian authorities clearly demonstrates that the Syrian units were fully aware of the circumstances and the fact that the aircraft belonged to Turkey,”

Details to follow...

All this as more Syrian military officers defect and reports come in of a second Turkish jet being shot at by Syria. See my earlier diary today for more details on those stories.

NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria

Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:08pm ED, Reuters is reporting from Ankara:

Turkey is to demand backing from its NATO allies on Tuesday at a special meeting called after Syrian troops shot down a Turkish warplane last week in an incident Damascus said was self-defense but which Ankara branded an "act of aggression".

It is only the second time in NATO's 63-year history that it has convened under Article 4 of its charter which provides for consultations when a member state feels its territorial integrity, political independence or security is under threat.

Turkey rejected assertions from Damascus that its forces had no option but to fire on the F-4 jet as it flew over Syrian waters close to the coast on Friday.

In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Turkey condemned the "hostile act by the Syrian authorities against Turkey's national security", saying it posed "a serious threat to peace and security in the region".

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told a news conference Syria's actions "would not go unpunished".

NATO Press Release on tomorrow's meeting.

(6-24-12) Midan | Damascus | Large Demonstration "We Are Coming For You Bashar"

Al Arabiya News is reporting that the EU has slapped new sanctions on Syria and Australia is introducing a new embargo:

Mon Jun 25, 2012 13:56 pm (KSA) 10:56 am (GMT)

The European Union slapped fresh sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime on Monday, targeting six entities and clarifying an existing arms embargo, EU diplomatic sources said.
No details were immediately available on the identities of those targeted but several EU diplomats said on condition of anonymity that assets held in Europe by Syria’s defense and home affairs ministries were targeted.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said banks and telecommunications firms were also on the list.

Urging more sanctions against the Assad regime, Fabius called for a company specialized in telecommunications transmissions which is “in touch with an Ericsson firm” to be added to an EU blacklist.

He also suggested a ban on Syrian phosphate imports.

Monday’s sanctions also included a specific ban on insuring items embargoed for delivery to Syria, including arms shipments.

The measure follows an incident some days ago involving a British-insured Russian cargo ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria.

The United States alerted Britain to the consignment and British security services told insurers Standard Club that providing insurance for the shipment would breach EU sanctions, reports said.

Standard Club then cancelled insurance for the ship as well as others in the fleet owned by Russian cargo line Femco, forcing the vessel to head home.

Earlier on Monday, Australia has announced new sanctions against Syria covering oil, petroleum, financial services, telecommunications and precious metals.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said in a statement Monday that the new trade sanctions are in addition to Australia’s arms embargo and financial and travel sanctions on Syrian individuals and entities, The Associated Press reported.

Even the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is considering suspension of Syria. From Arab News today:

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), is seriously considering suspension of Syria from the membership of the pan Islamic organization and its affiliated bodies.

“Foreign ministers from the member countries will discuss the issue and take a decision at the ministerial level meeting to be held in Djibouti on Nov. 15,” he said. Ihsanoglu was replying to queries from Arab News during a press conference held at the end of the ministerial-level extraordinary meeting of the OIC Executive Committee here on Sunday.

The OIC chief said that any military intervention in Syria at present would not be fruitful but instead it would further deteriorate the situation and drag the region into a vicious war. "This would exacerbate the situation and in no way serve the interests of the Syrian people,” he said.

Action Item: What can I do? Its hard to know what you can do about a far away crisis like the one facing the Syrian people now. In point of fact, in the Internet age, there are many things you can do. Here's one, a petition:

Stop son of #Assad's financier from competing in @London2012 @Olympics - Sign & Share for #Syria

11:21 PM PT:
(06-25-12) Daraya | Damascus | The Brave Continue to Call for Freedom

Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 12:50 AM PT:
(06-25-12) Al-Mahatta | Daraa | People Call Out 'God is Greatest' as Regime Shells

Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 1:02 AM PT:
(06-25-12) Salah Ad-Deen | Aleppo | O Arabs, Fear God, Where are You

Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 1:12 AM PT: Al Jazeera reports June 26, 2012 - 10:58:

Iran offers to use its good ties with Damascus and Ankara to help resolve the row.

Iran on Tuesday offered to use its good ties with Damascus and Ankara to help resolve the row between the two countries over Syria's downing of a Turkish warplane.

Syria's shooting down of the jet last Friday was "a very sensitive issue" that also concerns Tehran, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said, just ahead of an emergency NATO meeting on the incident

"We will use our good relationship with the two countries to resolve the issue," Ramin Mehmanparast said in his weekly news briefing.

"It should be resolved through restraint and negotiations and [the two sides] should avoid measures that disturb the security of the region," he said. "We hope this issue will be resolved rapidly."

Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 1:24 AM PT: Al Akhbar English is reporting Tuesday, June 26, 2012:

Turkey rejects Syrian claims over downed jet
Turkey rejected Syria's explanation for downing a Turkish F-4 jet last week, branding it as an "act of aggression" while Damascus insists it fired on the warplane in self-defense.
Syria's foreign ministry spokesperson, Jihad Makdissi, fronted the media on Monday to relay Damascus' version of events, claiming the event as an act of self-defense, while reiterating Syria's commitment to a "neighborly relationship" with Turkey.

"The plane disappeared and then reappeared in Syrian airspace, flying at 100 meters altitude and about 1-2kms from the Syrian coast," Makdissi said.

"We had to react immediately, even if the plane was Syrian we would have shot it down," he said. "The Syrian response was an act of defense of our sovereignty carried out by anti-aircraft machine gun which has a maximum range of 2.5km."

Turkey rejected assertions from Damascus that its forces had no option but to fire on the F-4 jet as it flew over Syrian waters close to the coast on Friday.

In a letter to the UN Security Council, Turkey condemned the "hostile act by the Syrian authorities against Turkey's national security", saying it posed "a serious threat to peace and security in the region."
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told a news conference Syria's actions "would not go unpunished."

Arinc disputed Makdissi's claims that Syria had shot the warplane down with anti-aircraft guns, thus implying the Turkish jet was over Syrian airspace when the incident occurred.

"According to the data in our hands, it points to our plane being shot by a laser or heat-guided surface-to-air missile. The fact our plane was not given an early radar warning, suggests it was not a radar-guided missile," said Arinc. Syria warned Turkey and NATO against retaliating.

"NATO is supposed to be there to strengthen countries," said Makdissi. "If their meeting is for hostile reasons (they should know that) Syrian land and waters are sacred."

Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 3:11 AM PT:
CNN reports on the NATO meeting in progress 5:41 AM EDT, Tue June 26, 2012:

Turkey PM: 'No excuse' for Syria downing of jet

(CNN) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Syria harshly on Tuesday for shooting down a Turkish fighter jet last week, saying: "Even if the plane was in their airspace for a few seconds, that is no excuse to attack."

The first public statement on the incident from Turkey's leader came as NATO leaders were meeting at Turkey's request to discuss the incident.

"It was clear that this plane was not an aggressive plane. Still it was shot down," Erdogan said, arguing that Syrians should be ashamed of the attack
NATO's discussions at their headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, are being held at Turkey's request under Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's founding charter.

The article allows any member to call for consultations "whenever, in the opinion of any of them, their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened," NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said in an email to CNN.

There is a chance Turkey will demand a collective military response, but there is no appetite for a military conflict with Syria at the moment, several NATO diplomats told CNN's Elise Labott on Sunday.

Here are my related diaries:
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout