NATO condemned Syria’s downing of a Turkish military jet, in a statement issued following an emergency meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, but did not invoke Article 5 of its charter which could possibly allow joint armed intervention against Syria.
“We consider this act to be unacceptable and condemn it in the strongest terms. It is another example of the Syrian authorities’ disregard for international norms, peace and security, and human life,” the alliance said.
Syrian shot down the RF-4E Phantom plane flying at low altitude over the Mediterranean Sea on June 22. Damascus said the jet had invaded Syria’s airspace, while Turkish officials insist the aircraft was attacked when it was one mile (1.58 km) inside international airspace.
Turkey called a NATO meeting under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, which states that any member of the alliance can request such consultations if they feel their territorial integrity or security have been threatened.
“We continue to follow the situation closely and with great concern, and will remain seized of developments on the southeastern border of NATO,” the alliance said in its statement. “We stand together with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity.”
The alliance did not discuss invoking Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty, which states that an attack against one NATO member shall be considered an attack against all members and would possibly allow for NATO military retaliation, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told journalists after the meeting.
In a letter sent to the United Nations on Monday, Ankara said the Syrian attack represents a “serious threat” to Turkey’s and regional security.