Sun, October 14, 2012
World > Middle East

Turkey bars its air space to Syrian civilian flights

2012-10-14 23:47:30 GMT2012-10-15 07:47:30(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Turkey bars its air space to Syrian civilian flights, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday.

Ahmet Davutoglu said that Turkey made the decision because the Syrian regime was "abusing" civilian flights by transporting military equipment.

He said that Syria's government was notified of the decision on Saturday. Turkey made the decision in a response to the action by Damascus which decided to close its air space to Turkish airplanes.

The Syrian government made the decision in response to Turkey's recent forcing of an airplane from Russia to Syria to land in Ankara on suspicion that it was carrying weapons to al-Assad regime forces.

Russia said the plane was carrying spare radar parts, while Syria accused Turkey of piracy.

Syria brands Turkey's grounding of civilian plane "stupid and reckless"

A Syrian state-run newspaper said Sunday that Turkey's grounding of a Syrian civilian plane last week was a "stupid and reckless" action.

"Regardless of their intents, what the Turkish authorities have recently done regarding the Syrian civilian plane has no other synonym in the international political dictionary but a stupid and reckless action," Tishreen daily, a mouthpiece of the Syrian government, editorialized Sunday.

The Turkish authorities forcefully grounded Wednesday a Syrian civilian plane en route from Moscow to Damascus, under the pretext that the plane carried "non-civilian cargo."

The Turks alleged that the Syrian flight carried Russian military gears destined for the Syrian ministry of defense.

Both Syria and Russia chided the Turkish move and dismissed the statement made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan, who said Russian military gears destined for Syria were confiscated on the plane.

Syrian Information Ministry challenged Erdogan on Thursday, demanding the latter publicly display the confiscated gears to prove his claims.

Tishreen said Turkey's action amounts to a crime of "public piracy" according to international laws, adding that the move was not unexpected by the Syrian part due to the policy of " recklessness and aggression espoused by the Turkish government since a year and a half ago."

Tishreen noted that what happened has proven Turkey's siding with the countries that support terrorism and hinder any political solution, contending that the move has backfired on the Turkish government and its plans.

Syria goes through legal and legitimate channels to obtain its military needs to protect its sovereignty, and does not need to use a civilian plane to carry weapons, the paper said, adding that the Turkish government has proven its ability to foment problems with neighboring countries, which exceeds its ability to make peace in the region.

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