Syria a 'clear and present danger' for Turkey: Erdoan
Syria has come to constitute a "clear and present danger" for Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan said, adding that all military elements approaching the Turkish border from Syria would be considered "a threat" from now on.
The Turkish Armed Forces has changed its rules of engagement in the wake of the crisis, Erdoan said. "The Turkish military will retaliate against border violations by Syria."
Everyone should know Turkey's wrath will "furious" over Syrias downing of a Turkish jet last week, Erdoan warned in his party's meeting today.
"Turkey's friendship is valuable, but everyone should know Turkey's wrath is equally furious," Erdoan said.
Erdoan "underlined" that the Turkish plane was shot down in international air space and crashed into Syrian waters.
"The downed jet was on a peaceful mission to test renewed radar systems," Erdoan said.
Turkey's decision to act with common sense should not be understood as a state of weakness, Erdoan said.
Turkish airspace was violated 114 times this year alone, Erdoan said, added that all of the instances were resolved peacefully.
Syrian helicopters violated Turkey's airspace five times, but were peacefully warned to leave.
Syria's rulers did not represent the "brotherly" people of Syria, Erdoan also said, noting the oppressive regime of Hafez al-Assad, the father of current President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey had hoped Bashar al-Assad would enact reforms to democratize his country, but the hopes were in vain, Erdoan said.
"The current Syrian administration is a tyrannical regime that murders its own people," Erdoan said, repeating that the al-Assad regime had "lost all legitimacy."
The jet was downed at noon on June 22.