These two incidents show just how dark the situation has become along the Turkey-Syria border. Since March 16, Turkish government authorities have expressed concern that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) threatens to lower Turkey's flag at the Tomb of Suleiman Shah in Syria — the only sovereign Turkish territory outside its borders. They say the Turkish military is fully authorized to defend the tomb. Then, Turkey shot down a Syrian fighter jet on March 23, claiming it violated Turkish airspace.
While Turkish political commentators raised doubts over whether there is any link between these two events and the local elections on March 30, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on March 25 that the event cannot be seen as an "election maneuver." Davutoglu blamed the media for "being a spokesperson for [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad's regime," calling them "evil-minded."