Turkey hopes military jet shooting 'chastened' Syria regime

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ANTALYA - Turkey hopes that the shooting of a Syrian military jet "chastened" the Syrian regime, Turkey's EU minister said Tuesday. 

During an election campaign in southern province Antalya, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey had shown patience towards Syria but now hoped its regime has "realized that they cannot mess with Turkey."

A Syrian jet was shot down by Turkish forces on March 23 for violating its airspace.

"Turkey has repeatedly shown patience towards the Assad regime, not to cause instability in the region despite Syria's shooting down our military jet, missiles, bombs fired by the regime which fell into our territories killing people," he said. 

Cavusoglu said Turkey has never been in favor of war, and sought peace "however Syria's inciting and disturbing attitude has gone beyond the limit."

Two Syrian MIG-23 fighter aircrafts approached Turkey’s airspace along the Turkish-Syrian border around 1 p.m. on Sunday and while diverted its course after four warnings, the other plane violated Turkey’s airspace at 1:13 p.m. by approximately a kilometer. It then continued to head west and flew in Turkish airspace for about one and a half kilometers, said the office of the Turkish Chief of General Staff. 

The pilot of the downed aircraft reportedly survived the incident, having evacuated with a parachute.

This was not the first time tension erupted between the two countries: Syria shot down a Turkish warplane in 2012, and Turkey downed a Syrian helicopter last September. NATO deployed four batteries of Patriot missiles near the border, at Turkey’s request, to defend against a possible Syrian missile attack last year. 

Responding to allegations that the jet was shot down to distract from controversy surrounding alleged wiretapped phonecalls of high-profile officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Cavusoglu said: "Did we want the Syrian jets to violate our air space?".

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