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Turkish Politician: Gov't Cooperated with Israel in Syria Attack

Vice Chairman of the Turkish Labor Party accuses the Erdogan government of working with Israel to carry out an alleged airstrike in Syria.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/5/2013, 4:16 AM

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
AFP/File

A Turkish politician has accused Israel and Turkey of collaborating with one another to allow Israel to carry out an alleged attack on Syrian territory last week.

A report Monday in the official Syrian SANA news agency quoted the Vice Chairman of the Turkish Labor Party, Bulent Esinoglu, as having said that the government of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cooperated with Israel in its attack in Damascus last Wednesday.

The Syrian news agency quoted an article published on the Turkish Ulusal Bakis website, in which Esinoglu pointed out that a visit by U.S. and German senators with Turkish President Abdullah Gul before the alleged Israeli attack indicates that the Turkish Government was aware of the attack in advance.

The senators, noted Esinoglu, headed to Israel after their visit in Turkey, also an indication that the attack was planned by both countries, according to him.

Esinoglu blamed Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of turning a blind eye to what happened and working to mislead the public opinion, SANA reported.

Statements from Turkish officials have indicated the opposite, however. On Saturday, Davutoglu attacked the Syrian government for failing to respond to the Israeli airstrike, claiming that the Syrian stance raises suspicions that there is a secret deal between the two countries.

“Why has the Syrian army, which has been attacking its own people with warplanes and tanks for 22 months, not responded to this Israeli operation?” Davutoglu was quoted as having asked when speaking to a group of journalists.

“Why doesn't [Bashar al-Assad] throw a stone at the Israeli planes while they fly over his palace and insult his nation's honor? Why doesn't he do anything against Israel while he drops bombs on the innocent people of his country? Is there a secret agreement between Israel and Assad?” he added.

On Sunday, Erdogan also lashed out at Israel over the attack, accusing the Jewish State of waging "state terrorism".

"Those who have been treating Israel like a spoilt child should expect anything from them, at any time," Erdogan said.

"As I say time and again, Israel has a mentality of waging state terrorism. Right now, there is no telling what it might do and where it might do it," he told reporters.

"We cannot regard a violation of air space as acceptable. What Israel does is completely against international law... it is beyond condemnation," Erdogan said.

Just several months ago, the Turkish army attacked several targets in Syria after a mortar shell fired from Syria exploded on Turkish territory and killed five people.

The Turkish parliament later authorized cross-border military action into Syria, if deemed necessary by the government.

Last Wednesday's air strike, allegedly carried out by Israel, targeted surface-to-air missiles and an adjacent military complex believed to house chemical agents, according to a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Israel has not commented on the attack, and has not officially confirmed its involvement, although Defense Minister Ehud Barak earlier Sunday hinted at the possibility that Israel did carry out the attack.