Turkey claimed Thursday that it had found Russian munitions aboard a Syrian passenger jet forced to land in its capital, Ankara, drawing Moscow into the spiraling Syrian-Turkish tensions that are threatening to erupt into regional war.
Russia demanded an explanation from Turkey for the interception of the Syrian Airlines Airbus, which was escorted to the civilian airport in Ankara by Turkish F-16s on Wednesday and detained for nearly eight hours before being allowed to continue on its way without its cargo.
At a news conference Thursday evening, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the cargo included unspecified “munitions,” adding that an investigation was continuing.
“This was munitions from the Russian equivalent of our Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation being sent to the Syrian Defense Ministry,” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara, in a reference to the state-run Turkish manufacturer that supplies the country’s military.
Well this is awkward.
Update Friday Oct. 12:
A representative from Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport asserted that everything on the plane had cleared customs and security checks. Syrian Arab Airlines head Ghaida Abdulatif said the plane had been carrying civilian electrical equipment. [Source, Foreign Policy Magazine]
Having to fabricate evidence is ‘awkward’ and as we’re seeing here, time consuming. But their American liaison @ NATO can help them. The U.S. has LOTS of experience.
After all, look at all those WMDs they found in Iraq! (snigger)
If the Turks managed to confiscate a couple of security people’s Russian weapons, they could say this with a somewhat straight face… even without cases of unserialized AKs as was the case in the Pentagon’s Viktor Bout incident during the occupation of Iraq where this ex-KGB agent gone gunrunner, EVEN AS HE WAS ON THE STATE DEPARTMENT’S SANCTIONS LIST for his DR Congo gun-running, ‘lost’ a quarter million AK-47s.
You read that right… 250,000 AKs in transit for the provisional government’s forces, which good general David Petraeus later referred to as “a bookkeeping error’.
Even Stars&Stripes laughed at that.
In regard to Turkey’s statements about ANYTHING having to do with Syria right now, it would be worthwhile noting the Libyans the United States has accused of murdering (?… Really! Like ‘targeted assassination’ murder?) US ambassador Stevens, also known to be ‘al-Qaeda’ affiliated elements of the Libyan rebels which are training Free Syrian Army ‘forces’, fled to… Wait for it… NATO Turkey.