Monday, June 25, 2012

A Check of Some Sort

Turkey won't get a blank check from NATO, but Turkey is disputing Syria's account of that Phantom shoot down and wants NATO backing for Turkey's eventual response:

"Turkey has requested consultations under Article 4 of Nato's founding Washington Treaty," [NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu] told Reuters.

"Under article 4, any ally can request consultations whenever, in the opinion of any of them, their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened."

Turkey wants to be sure of the strongest backing once it decides its official response, reports the BBC's Jonathan Head in Istanbul.

The government has promised that it will be strong, decisive and legitimate, and that it will share all the information it has with the public.

The meeting will take place Tuesday.

Turkey wants Assad gone but doesn't want to invade. I have no idea what escalation Turkey will decide on in response.

UPDATE: On a technical note, Defense Industry Daily writes that the Phantom shot down was a recon version RF-4 Phantom 2000 and that the Syrians shot it down with a SAM-11 anti-aircraft missile.

UPDATE: Hmmm. Syria claims that the shoot down was accomplished by anti-aircraft artillery:

"The Syrian response was an act of defense of our sovereignty carried out by anti-aircraft machinegun which has a maximum range of 2.5 km."

But Turkey insists it was missile fire:

"According to the data in our hands, it points to our plane being shot by a laser or heat-guided surface-to-air missile. The fact our plane was not given an early radar warning, suggests it was not a radar-guided missile," said [Turkish Deputy Prime Minister] Arinc.

Automatic weapon fire would bolster Syrian claims that the plane was close to Syria's shores.

Not that I think this dispute changes the crisis. But Assad is sure hoping it matters.

UPDATE: A second shooter:

Turkey's deputy prime minister says Syrian forces have opened fire on a second Turkish plane that was searching for the wreckage of a jet earlier shot down by Syria.