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War of Words Over Turkish Aircraft Incident

by Stephen Lendman Tuesday, Jun. 26, 2012 at 4:06 AM


War of Words Over Turkish Aircraft Incident

by Stephen Lendman

On Friday, Turkey provocatively flew two warplanes at low altitude over Syrian airspace. Perhaps it was testing its defense systems or probing for other reactions.

With conflict raging for months, doing so for any reason was hostile and aggressive.

Ankara's directly involved in Washington's war on Syria. It's arming insurgents. It provides safe havens.

On May 22, the London Telegraph headlined "Syrian rebels say Turkey is arming and training them," saying:

Turkey's military is delivering arms "to the Syrian-Turkish border. No one knows where (they) came from originally, but no one much cares."

"....(N)ot only is Turkey supplying (weapons), it is also training Syrians in Istanbul."

The report went on to say Washington is supplying anti-Assad forces with weapons despite official denials.

Heated rhetoric followed Friday's incident. Ankara threatened "decisive action." Doing so advances the ball closer to war. Media scoundrels push the envelope.

On June 24, Bloomberg News headlined "Turkey Says Syria Downed Plane in International Airspace," saying:

"A Turkish warplane shot down by Syrian forces was in international airspace when it was struck," said Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu."

The comments below followed:

"The unarmed plane briefly entered Syrian airspace minutes before it was hit on June 22, and then plunged into Syrian waters about 8 miles (13 kilometers) offshore, Davutoglu said on state television today."

"It was on a test flight related to Turkey’s radar system, and the mission had nothing to do with spying on Syria."

"The plane was clearly identifiable as Turkish, and Syria made no attempt to issue a warning after the earlier infringement, he said."

On June 24, Turkey's Today's Zaman headlined "Turkey: Downed jet was hit in international airspace," saying:

Davutoglu said Turkey's "jet was shot down in international airspace 13 miles off Syria." Perhaps he meant km. He added that it's "either amateurish behavior or ill-intention to describe the Turkish plane as a threat."

Imagine his reaction if Syrian warplanes violated Turkish airspace flying low at high speeds.

Interviewed on TRT Haber television, he claimed Turkish aircraft briefly entered Syrian airspace "but not during the time it was shot down."

"During the entire operation conducted by the downed jet, Syria made no attempt to contact Turkish authorities by any means."

"We will, without any hesitation, decisively take the necessary steps regarding the Turkish plane downed by Syria. No country can show the courage to test Turkey's patience."

In response, Damascus said the plane was inside Syrian airspace when downed. Davutoglu called Syria's explanation "disinformation." He said Ankara will brief NATO members within days.

On June 24, Turkey's Hurrieyet daily said NATO envoys will meet Tuesday to discuss the incident. NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said:

"Turkey has requested consultations under article 4 of NATO's founding Washington Treaty. 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."

Article 4 calls for members to "consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any" is threatened.

It stops short or requesting a military response. It remains to be seen what follows Tuesday's briefing.

Hurrieyet also said "wreckage of a Turkish jet shot down by Syria (was found) in Syrian waters....Turkish news channels  reported (it) on Sunday, without citing a source."

Doing so refutes claims that Syria acted in international waters. Expect Western media to bury the story or say little about it.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended Turkey for its restraint. He said the UN was prepared to help. He left unexplained that Ankara acted aggressively in violation of international law.

On June 22, what State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland left unsaid was more important than her comments.

Asked by reporters if Turkish officials briefed her on the incident, she said only that "we're going to let the Turks speak to it rather than (do so) ourselves."

When pressed for more specifics, she repeated the same comment. She then took questions on other issues.

Ankara's position and its media reports reflect Washingtonthink.

What's said going forward bears watching.

According to Middle East analyst Peter Eyre, the aircraft was "at least 10km inside the territorial waters off Syria - that is by no means a slight incursion!!"

Eyre added:

"One could even question just how deep this incursion actually was because the 12 nautical mile limit extends from the low water mark on the coast and when you take into account that this aircraft was shot down in a bay it was clearly in gross violation of Syria's sovereign territory and could have actually been almost on the coast at some point during its transit flight."

Given months of raging conflict, Syria's military is on high alert. All border violations are suspect. Aircraft ones demand a response.

NATO's bombs away strategy needs no explanation. Syria's seen Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya ravaged. Clearly it knows it's next.

So far only proxy ground incursions are involved. NATO forces haven't invaded. Large numbers are positioned nearby. Anything ahead is possible. Expect the worst.

Syria has no illusions about resolving the conflict peacefully. Its attempts to do so were spurned. It's on high alert to act.

Failure to confront unauthorized aircraft entering its airspace would be irresponsible and foolish. Turkey would do the same thing. So would Israel and Washington. Apologies wouldn't follow.

Despite acting in accordance with international law, Syria apologized. It's naval forces worked cooperatively with Turkey to locate its downed plane and missing crew.

Instead of thanks, it's threatened. What's next remains uncertain. Repeated belligerent incidents advance the ball for war. Washington wants it. Turkey's one of several regional attack dogs. So is Israel so far acting covertly.

Western media provide one-sided reports. They're promoting war, and they'll get it.

The New York Times headlined "Turkey Vows Action After Downing of Jet by Syria."

The Washington Post matched it, headlining "Turkey says it will take 'steps' after determining that Syria shot down missing jet."

So did the Wall Street Journal in two provocative headlines:

(1) "Syrian Forces Shoot Down Turkish Jet."

(2) "Turkey Promises 'Necessary Steps' After Syria Downs Jet."

London's Guardian, Independent, and other major broadsheets featured similar headlines. So have US newspapers and television reports.

UK government controlled BBC matched the hostile rhetoric, headlining "Turkey: Jet 'downed by Syria in international airspace."

It ran this headline online despite Hurrieyet reporting the plane's wreckage was found in Syrian waters.

Denmark's Weekendavisen went ballistic. It featured an image of Assad in a noose. Populations are propagandized into becoming raging Syrian regime haters.

It's been common practice since George Creel turned pacifist Americans into anti-German war supporters. The Wilson administration used him to enlist public support and undermine opposition sentiment.

It worked. It's used to "manufacture consent." It works the same way every time. Truth is suppressed. Public fear is stoked. Patriotism and democratic values are highlighted. People are manipulated to support war no matter how lawless and harmful to their welfare.

Propaganda is the most effective mass deception weapon. Media scoundrels feature it daily. No matter how many times people later learned they were fooled, they're manipulated again to go along what they'll later reject when it's too late to matter.

They're being set up to support war on Syria, then Iran. They believe lies fed them regularly. Scoundrel media misinformation is crucial to enlist support.

A century ago, William Randolph Hearst explained it best, telling his Havana illustrator:

"You furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish the war."

Big lies launch them. It works the same way every time.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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