(Source of Photos: Turkish Air Force / F-4 Phantom /)
Turkey: All The Necessary Measures Against Syria Will Be Taken..! / F-4 Phantom
- Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has accused Syria of shooting down a Turkish warplane in international air space. The Turkish reconnaissance plane “was performing a test and training flight to control the operation of the national radar and its flight was not aimed against Syria,” the minister said in an interview with TRT state television.
- The plane was shot down in international air space and fell in Syria’s territorial waters, he said. The RF-4E reconnaissance aircraft disappeared over the Mediterranean, near the Syrian coast, at about 09:00 GMT on Friday. Davutoglu said Syria knew in advance about the flight of the Turkish plane. “Syria knew that the plane was Turkish,” he said, adding the Syrian side did not warn the plane’s crew about its planned actions, as was required by international law.
- The joint search by the naval forces of Turkey and Syria for the two pilots of the downed Turkish warplane in the Mediterranean Sea near the Syrian coast has not yet produced any results. Previous reports have said the plane wreckage was found in the sea but this information has not yet been officially confirmed. The Turkish foreign minister has said Ankara will take all necessary measures envisaged by international law against Syria in the wake of the downed jet incident. “No one should have doubts on this score,” he said. “Specific measures that will be taken will become known after consultations with the prime minister and a government meeting,” Davutoglu said. / F-4 Phantom /
Heightened Tensions… / F-4 Phantom
- More importantly, the downing of the plane has heightened tensions that have arisen in the past year between the former allies over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on anti-government protesters, which has left more than 10,000 people dead. Syria has criticized Turkey for hosting meetings of Syrian opposition groups, while Turkey has called for a change of regime in its southern neighbor.
- The plane was hit in Syrian airspace and it should be thought of as “an accident, certainly not an attack,” Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told the Turkish news channel A Haber yesterday. He said Syria has no hostility toward the Turkish government or people.
- Turkey will give detailed information about the incident to fellow members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the coming week. / F-4 Phantom /
“Entering The Syrian Airspace By Mistake…” / F-4 Phantom
- In an interview with TRT television on Sunday, Mr Davutoglu asserted that the unarmed F-4 Phantom had “momentarily” entered Syrian airspace by mistake on Friday but had left when it was shot down 15 minutes later. “According to our conclusions, our plane was shot down in international airspace, 13 nautical miles (24km) from Syria,” he said.
- According to international law, a country’s airspace extends 12 nautical miles (22.2km) from its coastline, corresponding with its territorial waters. Mr Davutoglu also insisted that the jet had not been on a “covert mission related to Syria” but had instead been carrying out a training flight to test Turkey’s radar capabilities. He said the plane had not “shown any hostility”, been clearly marked as Turkish, and that he did not agree with the Syrian military’s statement that it had not known to whom it belonged.
- Privately, senior members of the governing AK Party have accused Syria of violating international law, says the BBC’s Jonathan Head in Istanbul. Earlier, Mr Davutoglu spoke by telephone to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has urged restraint by both sides, and the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Turkey wants to be sure of the strongest backing once it decides its official response, our correspondent adds. The government has promised that it will be strong, decisive and legitimate, and that it will share all the information it has with the public. / F-4 Phantom /