On Wednesday October 10th Turkish jets forced a Syrian passenger plane flying out of Moscow to land in Ankara. According to Turkish authorities they acted upon an intelligence tip that the plane was carrying weapons bound for the Assad government. The initial explanation Thursday was that the passenger plane did not comply with civil aviation rules. Was the plane hiding it's route, not communicating with Turkish authorities? According to the Jakarta Globe
and Associated Foreign Press Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu would not elaborate.
He did however state that the forced landing would be justified if weapons were found on board. Which begs the question, do you force a passenger plane to land hoping that the justification under international law will show itself once the plane is on the tarmac, or do you actually have a clear and definable reason to force a plane to land once it's in the air? I'm no international law expert but, I would think you don't arbitrarily force a plane to land unless you have a good reason.
To put the matter in perspective it would be like the local Sheriff's department pulling you over just for kicks and hoping they found a weapon or narcotics, or discovered you had a warrant for your arrest to justify the stop and your detention. That would be illegal and so are the actions of the Turkish government.
What the plane's cargo was remains in doubt. According to Prime Minister Erdogan, the plane was carrying "ammunition" yet the Russian government, through their Foreign Minister Lavrov, states the plane was carrying "electric equipment for radars" and that the cargo could be used for both civilian and military purposes according to the Associated Press
Turkish officials do say the plane was given a chance to turn around and go back to Moscow, how nice of them.
The actions of the Turkish government should come as no surprise. For months Turkey has been a base of operations for the Free Syrian Army, the rebel group fighting Bashar Assad, which has committed rape
religious and ethnic minorities, as well as carried out the assassinations
of top Syrian military officials by their own admission. Were this any other conflict this would be considered state sponsored terrorism, however because Bashar Assad is an enemy of the West, and by no means a beacon of democracy but be that as it may, the actions of the Turkish government and the Free Syrian Army are considered justified.
According to the White House and the International community's actions, when it comes to the regime of Assad and the Syrian conflict, the ends justify the means.
Now at the risk of being attacked as ignoring the 'fact' that Syria shelled Turkey which precipitated the forced landing of the Turkish plane in Ankara, it's important to note that Turkey has been caught lying about the shelling, mainly on their assertion that the Syrian government of Bashar Assad took responsibility. More so there is video evidence
that Free Syrian Army rebels may have done the shelling themselves and had even taken credit for it.
International law stands in the way to ensure that nations don't act like animals and make the world their jungle, we can't change the rules for some while imposing them on others.
Ends do not justify the means.