World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet with political party leaders in Parliament on Sunday to discuss the downing of a Turkish military plane by Syria.
Tensions have run high in Ankara after Syria said on Saturday that it shot down a Turkish reconnaissance plane because the plane had entered its airspace. Following a series of meetings in Ankara among top state officials on Saturday, Erdoğan called for meetings with the leaders of opposition parties to discuss the crisis.
Erdoğan received positive responses from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Erdoğan will meet with CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli and BDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş on Sunday at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, at the Prime Ministry.
The downed plane heightened tensions between two countries, which had been allies before Syria's 15-month violent uprising, and signaled that the violence gripping Syria is increasingly spreading beyond its borders. Germany and Iraq were among the countries urging restraint in the region.
Syria and Turkey had cultivated close ties before the Syrian revolt began in March 2011, but since then Turkey has become one of the strongest critics of the Syrian regime. Turkey hosts civilian and military Syrian opposition groups, including hundreds of military defectors who are affiliated with the Free Syrian Army and collect food and other supplies to deliver to their comrades through smuggling routes.