Turkey has sharply raised the stakes in a military standoff with Syria, claiming one of its search and rescue planes was shot at as it attempted to find a Turkish jet that was shot down on June 22 by Syria.
Bulent Arinc, the deputy PM, said the second plane had been attacked as it flew above the Mediterranean searching for two pilots. The claim undermines Damascus’s insistence that it attacked the first jet out of mistaken identity.
Nato is to hold consultations with its allies in Brussels on Tuesday over the incident but the meeting will not lead to any form of military response, say diplomats.
The downing of the Turkish military plane over what Ankara says were international waters was denounced by European Union foreign ministers. They called for full Syrian co-operation with a probe and imposed a new round on sanctions on Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
“The EU condemns the unacceptable shooting down by Syria of a Turkish military plane on June 22. It offers its sympathies to the families of the airmen involved...,” the ministers’ statement said.
Turkey has called a meeting of the National Atlantic Council, Nato's political steering body made up of ambassadors from member states, under the article IV of the North Atlantic treaty, which allows any member to consult its allies whenever it believes “the territorial integrity,political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened”.