Turkey to defend historical tomb in Syria

Ankara, March 24: Turkish President Abdullah Gul Sunday vowed to protect the Suleyman Shah Tomb in Syria if it comes under attack, a media report said.

“Some countries have lands outside their homelands. Suleyman Shah Tomb is our land outside Turkey. We will protect it just as we defend our homeland,” Xinhua quoted Gul as saying.

“It’s Turkey’s soil and it will have its flag there. Everybody should know this,” he added, in response to recent threats from Iraq and the Levant to lower Turkey’s national flag on the tomb before March 24.

Last week, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey will employ any precautions necessary to protect the historic tomb from attacks.

The Tomb of Suleyman Shah, located in the city of Aleppo in Syria near the Turkish border, is considered to be Turkish territory according to the Treaty of Ankara.

The deal was clinched between France and Turkey in 1921 when Syria was under French rule. The 25 km area is now guarded by Turkish soldiers and flies the Turkish flag.

Suleyman Shah was the grandfather of Osman I, founder of the Ottoman State. The tomb was built at the end of the 13th century.

IANS