World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said an F-4 jet downed by Syria on Friday was hit in international airspace and that it was on a training mission to test Turkey's own national radar system, adding that it was unarmed and had no mission related to Syria.
“The downed Turkish jet was shot down in the international flight zone 13 miles outside of Syria's flight zone,” he said on Sunday during an interview with TRT Haber. He further noted that the jet was only tasked with a routine test of Turkey's own radar system. In reference to Syria's response, Davutoğlu said, “It is either amateurish behavior or ill-intention to describe the Turkish plane as a threat.”
Explaining that in order to conduct the radar test the plane had to fly at a low altitude, Davutoğlu said the jet was hit 13 miles off the Syrian coast in international air space. “Our plane shortly violated Syrian airspace, but not during the time it was shot down,” he said.
The foreign minister further said Syria had not delivered any warnings to Turkey. “During the entire operation conducted by the downed jet, Syria made no attempt to contact Turkish authorities by any means,” he said. Davutoğlu added that Turkish intelligence intercepted radio communications from the Syrian side suggesting that they knew it was a Turkish plane.
He said Turkey's response will be clear after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's scheduled meeting with opposition leaders on Sunday. “We will, without any hesitation, decisively take the necessary steps regarding the Turkish plane downed by Syria,” he added.
Syria said Saturday it shot down a Turkish reconnaissance plane because the plane entered its airspace, insisting it was "not an attack" as both sides desperately tried to de-escalate the episode before it exploded into a regional conflagration.
The downed plane heightened tensions between two countries that had been allies before Syria's 15-month violent uprising, and signaled that the violence gripping Syria is increasingly bleeding outside its borders. Germany and Iraq were among the countries urging restraint in the region.
Syria and neighboring Turkey had cultivated close ties before the Syrian revolt began in March 2011, but since then Turkey has become one of the strongest critics of Syria's regime.
A new constitution and shifting to a presidential system will be top priorities, says PM Binali Yildirim
EU-Turkey refugee deal could collapse unless the bloc allows Turks visa freedom, says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Binali Yildirim says ruling party’s most important task is to usher in presidential system
Fiirst-ever World Humanitarian Summit organized by the United Nations in Istanbul dominated Tuesday's headlines
Binali Yildirim meets Turkish President Erdogan to submit the new government list
Foreign minister and European Commission VP exchange views over the phone on visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in Schengen
'Turkey is one of the countries - with its open-door policy - from which Europe should take lessons,' says Guy Ryder
'We must do everything that we can to continue to discuss as it is likely that by July 1 certain things will not be put in place, in other words the visa exemption (will not be granted) as some conditions will not have been fulfilled,' German chancellor says
In air operation in northern Iraq early Monday, Turkish Air Forces destroy weapon caches, shelters, camps
Turkish president deems current humanitarian system 'inadequate for solving urgent problems'
Tuesday’s papers cover extraordinary congress where Turkey’s ruling AK Party elects new party chairman
At least 125 United Nations member states gather in Istanbul on Monday and Tuesday to address intl humanitarian concerns
Sirnak’s central Geylani Mosque has been bombed by PKK terrorists, leaving several Quran copies burnt and torn
President Erdogan asks new leader of ruling AK Party Binali Yildirim to form government
Binali Yildirim elected as AKP's new chairman, who is now set to replace Ahmet Davutoglu as prime minister
Airstrikes in northern Iraq's Qandil and Metina regions Thursday also destroyed terrorist PKK shelters