NATO Stands with Turkey

NATO on June 26 condemned Syria’s shootdown of a Turkish RF-4 reconnaissance aircraft several days prior and stressed its solidarity with Turkey, one of the alliance’s 28 members. But the alliance stopped short of threatening Syria with military action, with members declaring instead that they would “follow the situation closely and with great concern,” according to a NATO release. “We consider this act to be unacceptable and condemn it in the strongest terms,” stated NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen, following the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, the alliance’s ambassadors, to discuss the shootdown at Turkey’s request. Rassmussen added, “Let me make this clear. The security of the alliance is indivisible. We stand together with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity.” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on June 26 the United States would “continue to stay in close touch with Turkey about its security concerns.” Turkey claims that Syrian air defenses, in a deliberate and hostile act, downed the RF-4 in international waters on June 22 after the aircraft had inadvertently entered Syrian airspace for a brief time, reported Associated Press on June 26 (via The Oklahoman). Turkey has threatened to respond to further Syrian provocations. (Rassmussen transcript) (Nuland transcript)