US Intelligence Says Turkish Warplane Downed in Syrian Waters
Turkey committed a willful provocation.
by Stephen Lendman
On June 29, the Wall Street Journal headlined "Doubts Cast on Turkey's Story of Jet," saying:
US intelligence contradicts Ankara. Turkey's "warplane (was) shot down....by shore-based antiaircraft guns while it was inside Syrian airspace, American officials say, a finding in tune with Syria's account and at odds with Turkey."
Ankara falsified its account. An unnamed senior US defense official also said:
"We see no indication that it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile...."
If a missile struck the plane, Damascus would have ordered it. Antiaircraft fire suggests "a local commander" spotted the plane and acted "on his own initiative," according to US officials and analysts.
The Journal said antiaircraft fire suggests Turkey's plane "was flying low to the ground....(It) likely came closer to the Syrian shoreline than Turkey says, US officials say."
A former unnamed US official with close ties to Turkey said Ankara didn't act by mistake. He stopped short of what he knows was a willful provocation, whatever other reasons were involved.
One official said both countries test each other's air defenses. They're "testing how fast they get picked up and how fast someone responds. It's part of training."
In fact, Turkey's provocation went far beyond a normal exercise. Flying low and fast clearly shows hostile intent.
Journal writers said discrepancies in Ankara's account could strain relations with Washington. Don't bet on it.
Turkey is a valued ally. It's a NATO country. American missile shield installations will be based there. It shares a common border with Syria. It provides safe haven territory for insurgents. It supplies them with weapons. It runs cover for Washington. It participated in its Libya war. It's ready for more against Syria if asked.
On July 3, Turkey's Hurriyet daily headlined "NATO chief backs Turkey," saying: