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.
An e-Food card has been introduced in Turkey three years ago to better secure Syrian refugees' needs
Almost 24,500 police officers are on duty in Turkey's largest city
Suspected car bomb in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey, martyrs officer, injures police and civilians
Ankara officers detain four people accused of preparing an attack during International Labor Day demonstrations
PM Davutoglu says terror groups like PKK, ISIL and DHKP-C have been working in tandem against Turkey
'Our goal is to be totally self-sufficient by 2023,' Turkish president says
Numerous roads and extra police have been stationed in preparation for May Day in Istanbul
The Turkish military has confirmed one soldier has died in anti-PKK operation in southern Turkey
The Muslim philosopher and national poet of Pakistan has been commemorated in Turkey in a ceremony in the capital
Turkish president commemorates a historic battle between the Ottoman Army and British forces 100 years ago
Gurbulak-Bazargan customs gate between Iran and Turkey to be rebuilt, Turkish trade minister Tufenkci says
Friday's dailies cover speculation on the identity of the person behind Wednesday's deadly blast in Bursa
Mortar shells had been fired into Gaziantep province, which borders Syria
Says China’s deputy PM has told him a committee will be sent to Turkey to review travel warning issued to Chinese citizens
Ash Carter grilled by lawmaker about US support to PKK offshoot in Syria