(CNN) — Turkey is changing its military rules of engagement and will now treat a military approach toward its borders by Syria as a potential threat that “will be dealt with accordingly,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday.
The announcement is a significant escalation of rhetoric after Syria shot down a Turkish plane last week.
Erdogan criticized Syria harshly on Tuesday for shooting down the Turkish fighter jet, saying: “Even if the plane was in their airspace for a few seconds, that is no excuse to attack.”
“It was clear that this plane was not an aggressive plane. Still it was shot down,” he said.
He said Syrian choppers have strayed into Turkish airspace five times in 2012. But, the Turks say, the government never escalated the situation despite the border violations. That could change under the new policy.
The shooting down of the Phantom F-4 jet on Friday raised even more tension between Turkey and Syria, two heavily armed regional powers.
Relations between the two neighbors have deteriorated during the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Erdogan has repeatedly called on al-Assad to step down.
Turkey has withdrawn its diplomats from Damascus. More than 30,000 Syrian refugees have spilled onto Turkish soil and Turkey is hosting Syria opposition groups.