Turkey assures Damascus it won't let Israel use air space to strike Syria
( Haaretz ) - Turkey assured the Damascus government on Sunday it would not let Israel use its airspace to strike Syria after an Israel Air Force raid heightened tension in the Middle East.
" Turkey will not let Turkish territory or airspace be used in any activity that could harm the security or safety of Syria," Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said after meeting Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus.
Babacan said he chose Syria as his first destination abroad since being named foreign minister in August to underline the importance of maintaining strong Turkish-Syrian ties. He is due to visit Israel next.
The minister, a member of the Islamist-rooted AK party, repeated Turkey's assertions that Ankara had no prior knowledge of the air strike, which Assad said had targeted an unused building linked to the Syrian military.
According to foreign media reports, however, the air strike targeted a nuclear facility built with North Korean assistance.
"I hope that during my visit to Israel to be given answers and clarifications about this issue," Babacan said. "The region is at a very dangerous and sensitive stage. We always urge all parties to reach solutions through dialogue and peaceful means."
Turkey and Syria have built closer security and economic ties in recent years despite persisting water disputes and past Syrian support for Kurdish rebels.
Ankara, a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), also has good ties with Israel and allows the Israel Air Force to train on its territory.