Tensions in the middle east are heating up as armies and intelligence agencies from the United States, Russia, and China arm and give aid to their respective allies in Syria. Now, according to a report from the UK Telegraph, Syria has engaged and shot down a Turkish air force plane, leading the Turks to call an emergency meeting to determine what steps to take next.
Reports in Turkey initially stated that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Syria had apologised for shooting down the plane.
“Syria immediately offered a very serious apology for the incident and admitted it was a mistake”, Haberturk daily newspaper quoted Mr Erdogan as saying onboard a plane on the way to Turkey from Brazil.
However, Mr Erdogan later told a news conference that he could not confirm reports that Syria had shot it down and had apologised.
He said he had no word on the fate of the pilot and navigator on board.
The incident prompted the calling of an emergency security meeting to be led later on Friday by Mr Erdogan and attended by top military and intelligence chiefs.
Turkey is a member of Nato, meaning that it could invoke Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty and summon the aid of all 28 countries in the alliance if it comes under attack. Turkey’s government is a strident critic of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and tension has risen along the land border between the two neighbours.
As was the case during 1914, it only takes a single incident to change the world. While this incident is not likely to mobilize militaries into action as happened after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand II on June 28, 1914, tensions are running high and we may not be that far off from an event that sends World War III into motion.
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