June 25, 2012
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu phoned world powers on Saturday to brief them about the downing of one of Ankara’s planes by Syria as a joint search for the airmen, who were shot down over the Mediterranean, tried to locate them.
Signals from both sides suggested neither wanted a military confrontation over Friday’s incident as the search focused its efforts near a Turkish province that hosts thousands of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
Given the hostility between the two former allies over Assad’s 16-month-old crackdown on his opponents, the joint operation was likely to sit uneasily with both countries.
Iraq, which borders both, said the incident marked a serious escalation of the Syrian conflict, demonstrating its potential to affect other countries in the region.
“No country is immune from this spillover because of the composition of the societies, the extensions, the connections, the sectarian, ethnic dimensions,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said in Baghdad. “This is not an excuse to do nothing about Syria, no. But there will be an impact.”
Turkey has declared it will respond decisively.
“It is not possible to cover over a thing like this. Whatever is necessary will no doubt be done,” Turkish President Abdullah Gul told reporters, adding that Ankara had been in telephone contact with the Syrian authorities.
Davutoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, on Saturday evening phoned foreign ministers from the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and Iran as well as the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said. He had briefed them about Turkey’s evaluation of the incident, the spokesman added.