BRUSSELS: NATO condemned Syria’s downing of a Turkish jet as “unnacceptable” and expressed “strong support and solidarity” with Turkey after emergency consultations Tuesday.
“We consider this act to be unacceptable and condemn it in the strongest terms,” said NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen. “Allies have expressed their strong support and solidarity with Turkey... We will remain seized.”
Rasmussen spoke after the North Atlantic Council met for consultations on a request from Turkey following the loss of a Phantom 4 fighter jet shot down Friday by Syria. The two-man crew remain missing.
“It is another example of the Syrian authorities’ disregard for international norms, peace and security, and human life,” Rasmussen told a news conference.
“We continue to follow the situation closely and with great concern,” he added after talks lasting a little over an hour gathering ambassadors of the 28-nation Atlantic alliance to hear Turkey’s representative outline the circumstances of the incident.
“Let me make this clear. The security of the alliance is indivisible. We stand together with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity,” Rasmussen said.
Turkey requested consultations with its allies under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, enabling any one of them to call for talks should they consider their territorial integrity, political independence or security under threat.
It is only the second time since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was set up in 1949 that consultations have been requested under that article, the last time in 2003 also being on a request from Turkey during the Iraqi war.