- - Sunday, June 24, 2012


ANKARA, TURKEY — NATO leaders will meet this week to discuss whether or how to respond to Syria’s downing of a Turkish jet in what Turkey insists was international airspace.

The incident has spiked regional tensions caused by the conflict in Syria, where reports Sunday said nearly 40 people died in new clashes between rebels and regime forces.

The jet’s wreckage was found in the Mediterranean at a depth of 4,265 feet, Turkish state media reported Sunday. The two pilots remain unaccounted for.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the jet was on a training flight to test Turkey’s radar capabilities, not spying on Syria.

He said the plane mistakenly strayed into Syrian airspace Friday but was quickly warned to leave by Turkish authorities and was a mile inside international airspace when it was shot down off the coast of Latakia.

Syria insisted Saturday that the shooting was “not an attack” and that the aircraft had violated its airspace.

But Turkish authorities say Syria didn’t warn the Turkish plane or send its own jets to confront it. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was expected to make a statement Tuesday and might announce some retaliatory steps.

“No one should dare to test Turkey’s capabilities,” Mr. Davutoglu said Sunday.

Meantime, at the request of Turkey, NATO’s governing body will meet Tuesday to discuss the incident,. The consultations will focus on article 4 of NATO’s founding Washington Treaty.


Blair: Germany must underwrite eurozone debts

LONDON — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the eurozone can survive only if Germany agrees to underwrite the debts of the currency union’s financially struggling members.

He told BBC television Sunday that safeguarding the euro “means treating the debts of one as the debts of all.”

Mr. Blair said “the only thing that will save the single currency now is … a sort of grand plan in which Germany is prepared to commit its economy fully to the single currency.”

In return, other eurozone nations must implement sweeping reforms, he said.

Mr. Blair, who left office in 2007 and stood down as leader of the Labor Party, insists Britain could in the future join the euro.

Prime Minister David Cameron of the rival Conservative Party has vowed that won’t happen during his tenure.


Tymoshenko will not appearin court Monday

KIEV — Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko will not appear in court Monday as scheduled, the prison service said, saving Ukraine - the co-host of the Euro 2012 soccer championships - added scandal shortly before the semifinals.

Mrs. Tymoshenko, whose sentencing last year to seven years in prison has prompted outraged European Union leaders to boycott tournament matches in Ukraine, has been in the hospital receiving treatment for back problems.

The prison service said Sunday it would abide by a recommendation from a visiting German doctor to keep Mrs. Tymoshenko in the hospital until her condition improves.

The former prime minister has complained of mistreatment since being sentenced in October in a controversial hearing relating to a disputed gas deal she arranged with Russia.

The European Union says she is a victim of political retribution, and some of its top officials have skipped the matches held in Ukraine, which is hosting the European soccer championships with Poland.

The two semifinal matches will be played Wednesday and Thursday.

Mrs. Tymoshenko was put on trial on separate tax evasion charges in April, in a hearing already twice adjourned because of her hospitalization.

A new court date was scheduled for Monday, and the Justice Ministry had sent a request to the prison service in the eastern city of Kharkiv - home to both her hospital and jail - requesting her attendance.


Premier cannot attend EU summit because of surgery

ATHENS — Greece’s new prime minister will not be well enough to travel to a critical EU summit in Brussels after undergoing an eye operation, the government said Sunday.

Antonis Samaras, 61, underwent surgery for a detached retina for nearly four hours Saturday, just three days after being sworn in at the head of a three-party coalition government formed after two inconclusive general elections.

The physician treating the prime minister, Dr. Panagiotis Theodosiadis, has ruled out him being able to travel to Brussels for the Thursday-Friday European Union summit, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said.

“Before the surgery, [Mr. Samaras] said, ‘You do your job, and I do mine, which is to go to the EU summit,’ ” Dr. Theodosiadis said the prime minister. “I was hoping [Saturday] that he would announce he would not go because it was a very delicate operation.

“He needs to lie at a certain angle for a certain period each day, for at least a week. He can do meetings, but he certainly can’t walk,” Dr. Theodosiadis said.

The summit could prove to be a key test of Greek leaders’ pledges to renegotiate some terms of the country’s international bailout.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide