Turkey denied on Thursday that the United States expressed concerns to Turkish authorities over remarks made by the country’s officials about an alleged Israeli raid on a military convoy and a research center near Damascus last week.
Diplomatic sources told the Turkish daily Today's Zaman that the U.S. embassy did not convey any concerns to the Turkish side over the remarks.
“There has been no initiative or a meeting in Ankara [between Turkish and US officials]. We couldn't understand what they were referring to,” the sources told the newspaper.
On Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu criticized the Syrian government for failing to respond to the alleged Israel airstrike, suggesting 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 asked.
“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.
A day later, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of waging "state terrorism" as he condemned the alleged air strike as an unacceptable violation of international law.
"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.
Responding to the comments, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called them “inflammatory” and said they are “obviously very troubling to us.”
Nuland told reported that the U.S. had “conveyed our concerns on this matter with senior Turkish officials.” She added that the U.S. administration had expressed these concerns to Turkish authorities via the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.
The U.S. embassy in Ankara declined to comment on the matter and said it is impossible to provide more information than what Nuland said.