Speaking before the parliament on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the shooting down of a Turkish fighter jet by Syria had made Ankara change its approach and that it would now retaliate for any violation of the border by the Syrian side.
"The rules of engagement of the Turkish armed forces have changed," Erdogan said. "Any military approach to the Turkish border from Syria, posing a risk and a danger in terms of safety, will be considered a threat and treated as a military target," he said.
According to the Turkish leader, Syrian helicopters had violated his country's airspace five times in recent months but Turkey has not responded.
"This latest development shows that the Assad regime has become a clear and imminent threat to the security of Turkey, as well as for its own people",Erdogan added.
Turkey claims that its unarmed RF-4E reconnaissance jet that took off from the Erhach Air Force base on June 22 was in international airspace when it was shot down by the Syrian air defence battery without a single warning.
Syria has insist that the plane was shot down over its territorial waters.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has condemned the downing of the Turkish plane as unacceptable and promised full support for Ankara, but without mentioning a retaliatory action against Assad’s regime and government .
Rasmussen said NATO was following the situation closely. "I certainly expect that such an incident will not happen again," he said.
The meeting comes after Turkey requested it under Article 4 of the treaty, which allows a NATO ally to request such a consultation if it feels its territorial integrity or security has been threatened.
More as it becomes available.