Turkey forces Syrian passenger plane to land; IMF chief calls on China and Japan to end ther row over East China Sea islands; Chinese writer Mo Yan wins the Nobel Prize in literature; Spain's credit rating falls to one level above junk; Venezuela's Chavez chooses new vice president; and more
Top of the Agenda: Turkey Grounds Syrian Jet
Turkey forced a Syrian passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus to land in Ankara on suspicion of carrying military cargo (NYT), warning of increasingly forceful responses if Syrian artillery gunners continued shelling across the border. While the Russian Foreign Ministry demanded explanation and sharply denied the presence of weapons on the plane (Hurriyet), Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said that "materials that infringed international regulations" had been confiscated. The United States recently sent military advisers to Jordan and offered assistance (Bloomberg) to Turkey to prepare for humanitarian and possible military spillover from the war in neighboring Syria.
"The emerging conflict between Turkey and Syria must therefore be seen as a reflection of the international system's failure. The West's reluctance to act on the responsibility to protect in Syria--an allegedly cherished concept--put Turkey in the vanguard of the reaction to the Assad regime. The international community must now face the consequences of its inaction," writes Sinan Ulgen for the Financial Times.
"Turkey, with or without Western support, could probably defeat what remains of the Syrian military. Its own army is well-equipped and the second largest in NATO. Such an effort would establish Ankara's credentials as the new power of the Middle East - leapfrogging the claims of wealthy but ultimately eccentric Gulf states like Qatar and Saudi Arabia - and allow it to reshape to its satisfaction a neighbor whose rebellious Kurds are a source of constant concern to its own security. But it would be a huge gamble, certainly if it did not have the overt backing, at least diplomatic and preferably military, of its NATO allies," writes Richard Spencer for The Telegraph.
"[A]lthough NATO and the United States have expressed solidarity with Turkey, a NATO member, they are urging restraint. Western powers, particularly the United States, do not have the desire or political will to intervene militarily in Syria. Without the full backing of NATO and the US, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan would be reluctant to embark on any large-scale military venture against Syria," writes Fawaz Gerges for CNN.
Christine Lagarde Calls on China at IMF Meeting
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said Thursday that China will "lose out" by not sending its top two finance officials to crucial IMF meetings in Japan this week, and called on Beijing and Tokyo (AP) to settle their row over the East China Sea islands quickly.
CHINA: Chinese writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday (LAT), the second Chinese author to win after Gao Xingjian took the prize in 2000.
Spain's credit rating falls to one level above junk
Venezuela's Chavez chooses new vice president