Turks to do 'whatever is needed' to avenge Syrian fighter strike

Pressure is building for a strong reaction, but UN urges Damascus and Ankara to show restraint

A military strike against Syria, in revenge for the shooting down of a Turkish fighter jet on Friday, has not been ruled out, President Abdullah Gul of Turkey signalled yesterday, saying: "No one should have any doubt that whatever [action] is necessary will be taken."

The President made his comment as his Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, chaired a meeting with senior military officers.

Hinting that military action remains an option, Faruk Celik, Turkey's Labour and Social Security Minister, said action would be taken "either in the diplomatic field or give other types of response". Responding to Syria's claims that the F-4 jet, which was shot down over the Mediterranean about 13km from the Syrian port of Latakia, had violated its airspace, he added: "The Syrian response cannot be to bring down the plane. The incident is unacceptable. Turkey cannot endure it in silence."

Turkey's Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, called a second security meeting in the space of 24 hours as pressure built for some form of retaliation.

Amid mounting concerns that Turkey's desire for revenge could send the conflict spiralling out of control, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on both sides to exercise restraint and handle it "through diplomatic channels".

In an attempt to calm tensions, a Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman insisted that "there was no enmity against Turkey" during an interview with Turkey's state television news yesterday. He said that Syria did not realise it was a Turkish jet and that Syria had exercised its "sovereign right" against an "unknown" aircraft.

Relations between the former allies have deteriorated since the uprising against the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, began in March 2011, with Turkey leading criticism of President Assad's response to the revolt.

Turkey is still trying to establish the exact circumstances of the incident and has yet to receive a formal explanation from Syria. The F-4, which Turkey claims was an unarmed reconnaissance plane, was shot down one kilometre inside Syria's territorial waters. President Gul commented that it was "routine" for jets flying in high-speeds to violate other countries' air spaces for short periods of time. "They are incidents that are not ill-intentioned and happen because of the speeds [of the jets]," he said.

The shooting down of the jet represents a "serious escalation" of the Syrian conflict that could spread into a regional crisis, Iraq's Foreign Minister, Hoshiyar Zebari, warned.

On Saturday, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet accused Syria of "playing with fire", while the daily paper Vatan said Syria would "pay the price" for the attack.

But other voices are calling for calm. Urging restraint, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister, Bulent Arinc, said: "We must remain calm and collected." He added: "We must not give premium to any provocative speeches and acts."

And Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey's main opposition party, called for diplomatic channels to be kept open and a "coolheaded assessment".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas