Turkish Foreign Minister Threatens Military Action Inside Syria To Protect An Important Turkish Shrine

 @David_Kashi
on March 14 2014 5:22 PM
Ahmet Davutoglu
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu attends a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on January 24, 2014. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu threatened military action in Syria after an Islamic extremist group took control of a town near the tomb of an early Turkish ruler, Turkish Daily reported on Friday.

The tomb of Suleyman Shah, the founder of the Seljuk Empire in Anatolia, who died in 1086, is located in the governorate of Aleppo, Syria, about 15 miles from the Turkish-Syrian border. It's located on land that has been under Turkish legal control since it signed a 1921 treaty with France, the colonial power that controlled Syria at the time. After gaining independence in 1936, Syria renewed the agreement with Turkey.

“As of now, there has been no [move on] our soldiers or our land there,” Davutoğlu said, according to the Hurriyet Daily. “But in the event of such a threat, we are ready to take all sorts of precautions.” 

Davutoğlu is referring to the increased fighting in the battleground city of Aleppo, where rebel groups are fighting not only against Bashar al-Assad’s government forces but also against Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. 

The Turkish flag still flies over the tomb, and a 25-man force is stationed there, according to Hurriyet Daily. 

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