How can you find two complete pairs of boots in the Mediterranean Sea, belonging to two missing soldiers who were in a plane that was shot down, and for the rest find nothing of the soldiers or the plane? Impossible, right? Yet Turkey did it. I just don’t believe it and the claim makes me doubt Turkey’s version of the events last Friday, when their jet that was shot by Syria.
The story of the boots, who were reportedly shown on a photograph to opposition leaders yesterday, is not the first reason to doubt Turkey’s version of what happened. Foreign Minister Davutoglu was interviewed by stat-run TV channel TRT Sunday morning. Well, interview is not the accurate word. Davutoglu was there to explain what happened according to Turkey, not to answer critical questions.
So, one of the important questions that remained and until now remains unanswered, is: if this was, as Turkey claims, a test and training mission, why was it carried out so close to the Syrian border in a time that tension around Syria is already high? Turkey has borders it violates all the time without getting into trouble, like the Greek and the Iraqi border, so why not test there?
Another one: if the plane was shot down above international waters, how come Turkey is searching for the pilots and parts of the plane in Syrian waters?
And then the two pairs of boots came up. The whole story just rambles. Of course, in situations like these not all intelligence is shared with the media and the public, but if you raise these kind of questions without answering them, how reliable are you? What kind of extra intelligence is Turkey sharing with its allies in NATO and with other countries that were consulted, that might make these blanks vanish?
Clean up the mess
Turkey admits that the plane violated Syrian air space. If it was shot in Syrian airspace, which Turkey denies, then the shooting down was still unusual to say the least, but clearly not an ‘attack’ as mentioned in the North Atlantic Treaty, as you can read here (published on Saturday, before FM Davutoglu spoke on TRT). Then, if it was an attack, which could be if it was flying over international waters, would it justify a military NATO respons? No – the article makes sense when it explains not all attacks are equal: it would only worsen the situation. A military respons would mean war with Syria, and later NATO would have to clean up the mess. They’re not going to do that over a single incident.
So, no war. That’s the good news, of course. Tomorrow we are going to find out what Turkey will do, after it has talked with NATO, also scheduled for tomorrow. But what are the options? I can’t really figure it out. Even sanctions against Syria are impossible, since Turkey imposed those already months ago because of Assad’s brutal suppression of the uprising in his country. A strong condemnation? A demand to bring the perpetrators to justice? That’s hardly going to make Assad tremble or even blink. Turkey has used strong words, but it seems it won’t be able to act accordingly.