Investigation into Turkish action needed

1 December 2015

Investigation into Turkish action needed

Below is the text of a letter sent by SP Member of Parliament and spokesman on foreign affairs Harry van Bommel to the national daily newspaper Trouw.

By Harry van Bommel

27 Nov 2015 Trouw begins an article on Turkey's bringing down of a Russian fighter plane by stating that I had stressed that Ankara had the right to defend its own airspace. That is correct, but tells only half of the story. It is indeed the sovereign right of every country to defend its own airspace. However, I also raised the question as to whether, in response to this breach of airspace, they would not have been better advised to have accompanied the Russian aircraft out of Turkish airspace.

According to reports the Russians were in Turkish air space for no more than a few seconds. In order to establish whether there is all in all any evidence of a breach of Turkish airspace, I have given my support to a proposal from the CDA (Christian Democrats, centre-right opposition party – Translator's note) for an independent enquiry. To conclude, I have in addition stated that the duty to assist incumbent on NATO members can be called into question if Turkey provokes military reactions from other states. This goes for stationing Dutch Patriot missiles in order to defend against Syrian missiles, but it also holds in the event of the possible provocation of Russian fighter aircraft.

For these reasons too an independent enquiry into dangerous Turkish actions is greatly to be desired. Everything possible must be done to prevent reckless Turkish actions degenerating into a conflict between Russia and NATO.

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