Turkey forced a Syrian passenger plane to land in Ankara last Thursday on the suspicion that it was carrying military materials.
It was. A spokesman for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to the arms as military equipment and not ammunition. Mr. Erdogan said that the equipment was sent to the Syrian Defense Ministry by Russias state-owned arms manufacturer.
After confiscating the materials, Turkey allowed the plane to take off with its 35 passengers. Syria accused Turkey of air piracy and Russia objected about the treatment of 17 Russian citizens aboard, saying they were denied access to Russian Embassy officials.
The incident is part of an escalation of tensions between Turkey and Syria. Turkeys top military commander warned last week that Ankara would respond with military action if Syrian shells continued to land in Turkish territory.
Russia is a major military supplier to Syria and used to ship military hardware to Syria on cargo planes. The Syrian conflict has changed that. Some of the hardware is now arriving on Syrian-registered civilian passenger aircraft, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Turkey used to be an ally of Syria, but the Damascus governments killing of civilians has changed that. Russia is also Turkeys second-largest trading partner, but that relationship is souring, too.
Turkey has taken a stand against Syrian dictator Bashar Assads brutal treatment of his own people. Turkey has also taken in tens of thousands of refugees from the conflict.
The United States should support Turkey in its stand against the Assad regime. The Obama administration has also denounced Russia for supplying arms to Syria that are being used to massacre Syrian civilians.
A U.S. spokesman on Friday called Russias Syria policy morally bankrupt.
That is true.