Turkish President Admits Jet May, Indeed, Have Violated Syrian Airspace
June 24, 2012 • 11:39AM

Turkish President Abdullah Gul admitted today the possibility that the Turkish jet that was shot down by Syrian air defenses yesterday, may have violated Syrian airspace. "It is routine for jet fighters to sometimes fly in and out over [national] borders ... when you consider their speed over the sea," he told the state-run Anatolian News Agency. "These are not ill-intentioned things but happen beyond control due to the jet's speed." Given the nature of the British-run campaign against Syria, there's also the possibility that the violation was intentional (see separate slug).

Since Gul's statements, there's been an effort on the part of ministers in both governments to try to keep the situation from spinning out of control. In a telephone interview with Turkish TV channel A Haber, Syrian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Jihad Makdissi said "an unidentified object entered our air space and unfortunately as a result, it was brought down. It was understood only later that it was a Turkish plane," reported Lebanon's Daily Star. "There was no hostile act against Turkey whatsoever. It was just an act of defense for our sovereignty." Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc also urged restraint. "We must remain calm and collected," he said. "We must not place a premium on any provocative speeches and acts."

However, where the Turkish government goes in the aftermath of this incident remains to be seen, given Turkey's role in expanding the conflict inside Syria. The government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held an emergency security meeting after the incident and issued a statement saying that Turkey "will make its final position known once the evidence is fully uncovered and will determinedly take necessary steps." Gul said today, "It is not possible to cover over a thing like this, whatever is necessary will be done."