• Germany's news in English

Westerwelle in Turkey to calm Syria tensions

The Local · 14 Oct 2012, 09:45

Published: 14 Oct 2012 09:45 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

As the politicians met, rebels on the ground and activists said a Syrian regime warplane was shot down near the embattled northern city of Aleppo.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for reform of the UN Security Council to help resolve the crisis, after Russia and China have repeatedly used their veto powers to block resolutions condemning Syria.

"It's time to change the structure of international institutions, starting with the UN Security Council," Erdogan told reporters on Saturday, calling for "wider, fairer and more effective representation."

With rebels controlling large swathes of the border area, a series of incidents of cross-border fire this month sparked retaliatory shelling by NATO member Turkey and raised international concern about potential escalation.

After meeting with Westerwelle, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu repeated Turkey's position that they would not tolerate any further border incidents.

"Fresh border violations can take place and we will hit back without hesitation if we believe Turkey's national security is in danger," he told reporters.

Westerwelle reiterated Germany's support for its NATO ally Turkey, while at the same time appealing for restraint.

"We are on Turkey's side but we also call on Turkey to show moderation," he said.

With rebels controlling large swathes of the border area, a series of incidents of cross-border fire this month sparked retaliatory shelling by NATO member Turkey and raised international concern about potential escalation.

Westerwelle, whose visit to Turkey was hastily scheduled, had called for calm and restraint ahead of his meetings. "It is important that no one pours oil on the fire," he said.

Syria said it was ready to establish a joint committee to oversee security on the border, as Turkey stepped up warnings of reprisals for any further shelling, such as that which killed five Turks on October 3.

The Syrian foreign ministry said it has been discussing with Russian diplomats the idea of a joint committee to avoid border misunderstandings.

Russia, a traditional ally of Syria, backed a UN Security Council statement condemning the cross-border shelling but has angered the West by repeatedly blocking tougher UN action against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat who is envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League, arrived in Istanbul from talks in Saudi Arabia.

The Damascus regime accuses Riyadh and Ankara of arming rebels seeking to overthrow it.

Turkey intercepted a Moscow to Damascus flight on Wednesday, confiscating its cargo.

Story continues below…

Westerwelle backed Turkey in the row over its interception of the plane from Moscow. Turkish authorities said they had confiscated radar equipment, provoking angry responses from both Moscow and Damascus.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Syrian Air flight had been carrying radar equipment that could have either civilian or military uses, and insisted that Moscow had violated no laws.

"It was morally justified for the Turks to do that," said Westerwelle, adding that Germany would have done the same thing.

During his visit to Istanbul, Westerwelle had talks with the leader of the main Syrian opposition alliance the Syrian National Council, Abdel Basset Sayda.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd