27 Jun 2012

Turkish PM warns of 'wrath' over jet shooting

6:03 am on 27 June 2012

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has told Syria to beware the wrath of Turkey after the shooting down of a warplane and said he had ordered the armed forces to react to any military threat from Syria near the two countries' border.

The Syrian military shot down an F-4 reconnaissance jet on Friday in what Damascus later said was an act of self-defence.

NATO member states, summoned by Turkey to an urgent meeting in Brussels, condemned Syria over the incident that resulted in the loss of two airmen.

Mr Erdogan said Turkey was no warmonger and told a meeting of his parliamentary party that his country's rational response should not be perceived as weakness.

"Everybody should know that Turkey's wrath is just as strong and devastating as its friendship is valuable."

Syria says it had no choice but to take out the plane as it entered Syrian air space flying low and at high speed. It found out it was Turkish only after the engagement. Turkey insists its aircraft entered Syrian air space only briefly by mistake.

Turkey is a member of NATO but the alliance's Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Article 5, which calls for member states to see an attack on one country as an attack on all the alliance's members, had not been discussed.