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Turkey's High Risk Game

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"Turkish F-16 warplanes forced the Syrian plane to land to be searched, doing so in violation of the international procedures in terms of not formerly notifying neither its pilot nor the Turkish civil airline, which almost caused an air accident due to warplanes coming close at an uncalculated distance," said Abdullatif.

No illegal cargo was onboard. Nothing was found. Passengers are safe but shaken. Abdullatif said Ankara committed "an inhumane act."

"Added to that, the long hours during which the passengers were locked without being provided (food or) any services or even informed of what was going on, which left them in a state of panic and a very bad psychological condition."

Damascus called Turkey's provocation an act of piracy. Russian President Vladimir Putin canceled a planned Ankara visit. Prime Minister Erdogan's office said it's rescheduled for December 3. Moscow officials said nothing further.

Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed concern. They demanded an explanation. Seventeen Russian nationals endured abuse on board for eight hours. Moscow accused Ankara of endangering Russian lives.

Turkey never informed Moscow about Russian passengers. Media reports provided information. A Foreign Ministry statement said what happened was "in violation of the bilateral consular agreements." It wants no further provocations.

A high-ranking Russian weapons export institution source said no weapons or military technology was onboard. At the same time he added:

"Russia has not halted its cooperation in the field of military technologies with Syria and will provide Syria with any type of military technologies in case of need according to the rules followed and not secretly, particularly via a passenger plane."

Turkey's media said Ankara prohibited Turkish passenger flights from entering Syrian airspace henceforth. Safety issues were cited.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said other civilian aircraft will be prevented from using its airspace if necessary, adding:

"We are determined to control weapons transfers to a regime that carries out such brutal massacres against civilians. It is unacceptable that such a transfer is made using our airspace."

"We received information this plane was carrying cargo of a nature that could not possibly be in compliance with the rules of civil aviation."

He lied. Nothing illegal was on board. Turkey's act willfully violated civil aviation rules. It was provocative and uncalled for. It advances things closer to full-scale intervention. Events make it appear likely.

On October 10, SANA quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying Moscow will defend UN Charter provisions in attempting to cool regional tensions.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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