World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish troops and military vehicles deployed towards the border with Syria on Thursday as a precaution after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan gave orders to react to any Syrian threat approaching the frontier.
Erdogan, who has given shelter in the border area to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, announced the new rules of engagement for Turkish troops on the border after Syrian air defences shot down a Turkish warplane last Friday.
"I can confirm there are troops being deployed along the border in Hatay province. Turkey is taking precautions after its jet was shot down," a Turkish official said on condition of anonymity.
He said he did not know how many troops or vehicles were being moved but said they were being stationed in the Yayladagi, Altinozu and Reyhanli border areas of Turkey's southern Hatay province. He said anti-aircraft guns were also being stationed along the border.
A military convoy of vehicles including anti-aircraft missile launchers from the 5th Mechanised Armoured Brigade left a base in the southeastern city of Gaziantep on Thursday and travelled to neighbouring Kilis province on the border, video from the Turkish Dogan news agency showed.
Roads were closed to traffic as the convoy, escorted by police cars, passed by.
Another convoy of about 30 military vehicles, including trucks loaded with missile batteries, left Turkey's coastal town of Iskenderun on Wednesday and deployed near the Syrian border 50 km (30 miles) away, Turkish news agencies said.
Turkish television film showed the column moving on Wednesday, escorted by police cars, along a narrow highway leading out of the town, the main port of Turkey's Hatay province. It included rocket launchers on transporters, anti-aircraft artillery and military ambulances.
A Reuters journalist saw another large truck carrying an anti-aircraft gun leave Iskenderun on Thursday for the border area, escorted by two army lorries, one carrying 10 troops.
Erdogan said any military element moving towards the Turkish border and deemed threatening would be declared a military target. The preponderance of air defence weapons in the convoy suggested Turkey was preparing for any possible approach by Syrian helicopters or warplanes.
State-run Anatolia news agency said armoured military vehicles were being transported to military installations in Sanliurfa, in the middle of Turkey's border with Syria, and Hatay, a panhandle province that juts down into Syria.
It said several military vehicles had travelled separately to a military garrison in the border town of Reyhanli in Hatay.
Specific details have not been made public of the new rules of engagement issued to troops after the shooting down of the warplane, which Turkey says was in international air space but Syria says entered its territory at high speed.
The Turkish border region is sheltering more than 33,000 Syrian refugees as well as elements of the rebel Free Syrian Army.
Salih Mirzabeyoglu, otherwise known as Salih Izzet Erdis, was locked up following Turkey's 28 February 1997 coup.
High-speed rail project linking Ankara and Istanbul to be opened on Friday after latest delays blamed on May sabotage.
Turkey's Deputy PM Bulent Arinc said a ceasefire must be declared at once between Palestine and Israel and demanded an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
A major operation in Istanbul and other cities sees more police officers and officials detained in a wiretapping probe.
Erdogan said all international actors should condemn such inhuman attacks of Israel on innocent children in Gaza.
Turkish dailies reported Wednesday on the operation in Istanbul and other cities against the police officers and officials in wiretapping probe and the latest clashes in Israel and Palestine.
Turkish carriers will not fly to Israel's Ben Gurion Airport in the next 24 hours.
Tuesday’s phone conversation was the second between the two officials within 24 hours and the third in five days.
Turkish Airlines has decided to suspend its Tel Aviv flights for a 24-hour period
The US again slammed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent remarks in which he compared Israel’s military attacks on Gaza Strip to the acts of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Muslims can no longer be unified under the rule of a single ruler like a caliph but could emulate political blocs like the European Union, Gormez said
Turkish president calls for urgent ceasefire as country starts three days of mourning for Gaza dead.
At least 76 officers were detained in 22 provinces around the country on suspicion of forming a criminal organisation and illegally bugging phones
Turkish dailies on Tuesday continued to give wide coverage to the Israeli offensive in Gaza, the upcoming Turkish presidential election and a Malaysian airliner which was downed over eastern Ukraine.
Turkey's government announced a three-day period of national mourning, starting on Tuesday, in a show of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.
The attack on southeastern Sanliurfa city leaves twoTurkish soldiers on border duty dead and injured two others late on Monday.