Saturday, June 30, 2012

US plays down Turkish troop moves near Syria border

WASHINGTON — US defense chiefs said Friday that Turkey was showing restraint after Syria shot down one of its aircraft and played down Ankara moving troops to the border.

The US military's top officer General Martin Dempsey said his Turkish counterpart, General Necdet Ozel, was "taking a very measured approach to the incident."

Dempsey, who told reporters he had spoken recently with Ozel, acknowledged there was a "risk of escalation" after Syria's "hostile act."

But both Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a news conference the deployment of Turkish tanks, troops and missile batteries did not signal an imminent war between Turkey and Syria.

Dempsey said "the movement, the internal movement of their ground forces, I wouldn't suggest -- I wouldn't read that as provocative in any way.

"But you'd probably have to ask the Turks. I've asked them and they are not seeking to be provocative." Read More