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Turkey

Turkey Ready To Respond To Syria's Downing Of Air Force Jet

Turkish President Gul breaks government silence after downing of air force jet by Syria.

A Turkish F-4 (Peng Chen)
A Turkish F-4 (Peng Chen)

ANKARA – Turkey's President Abdullah Gul vowed Saturday to respond with "whatever is necessary" to Syria's reported shooting down of a Turkish warplane

Speaking to reporters after nearly a full day of official silence by Ankara, Gul said Turkey had confirmed that the plane was indeed brought down by Syria, as widely reported on Friday. He explained that Turkish officials had initially received conflicting reports about the incident.

Gul conceded that the Turkish F-4 Phantom may have violated Syrian airspace, but that could in no way justify shooting it down.

"It is not possible to cover over a thing like this, whatever is necessary will be done," Gul said. "It is routine for jet fighters to sometimes fly in and out of air space over national borders... when you consider their speed over the sea,"

Investigations are underway to determine whether the plane was hit over Turkish airspace, and Ankara has been in contact with Damascus despite the countries calling home their respective ambassadors earlier this year as tensions grew over Syria's repression of opponents of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

"We withdrew our envoy from Syria for security reasons. This does not mean that we have no contacts," Gul said.

The two Turkish pilots on board the F-4 have disappeared over the Mediterranean, southwest of the Hatay province. Syria and Turkey are carrying out a joint-rescue effort, with gunboats in search of the missing pilots.

The plane, which had taken off from the Erhac airbase in Malaya, crashed around noon, according to Turkish Military Officials.

One witness reported that the plane crashed on Syrian territory after being shot down, and the pilots were being held captive. But there was no conformation of this account.

Read the original article in full in Turkish

Photo - Peng Chen

*This is a digest, not a full translation

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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