World Bulletin / News Desk
The two pilots of a reconnaissance jet downed by Syria last month were buried on Friday, one day after their bodies were finally retrieved from the Mediterranean Sea, ending a week-long search.
A commemoration ceremony was held on Friday morning for Capt. Gökhan Ertan and Lt. Hasan Hüseyin Aksoy at the 7th Main Jet Base Erhaç, Malatya, from where the two pilots took off for the last time.
Parliamenta Speaker Cemil Çiçek, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel and force commanders, as well as the families of the fallen pilots, attended the somber ceremony, which began with a minute of silence, following which prayers were said. Erdoğan and other government officials offered their condolences to the pilots' families.
A brief biography of the pilots was read to the audience during the ceremony. In a speech, Commander of the 7th Main Jet Base Gen. Mustafa Avcı said the two pilots were killed in international waters of the Mediterranean while performing an unarmed mission. He said the two pilots were heroes and offered his condolences to the families.
Ertan was buried at the Malatya Garrison Military Cemetery after the Friday prayer, following a funeral service at Kabristan Mosque in Malatya.
A funeral service was held for Aksoy at Ataköy Mosque in İstanbul following the afternoon prayer, also on Friday. He was buried at the Edirnekapı Military Cemetery.
Parliament Speaker Çiçek, Prime Minister Erdoğan, CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu and Chief of General Staff Gen. Özel attended both funerals, as did Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin, Defense Minister Yılmaz and force commanders.
The funeral prayers were led by Hasan Kamil Yılmaz, vice president of the Religious Affairs Directorate.
The pilots' bodies were recovered from the seabed 8.6 nautical miles off the Syrian coast on Thursday. The bodies were found at a depth of 1,260 meters near the wreckage of the jet, which had broken into eight pieces. The bodies were flown to the eastern city of Malatya on Thursday, from where the jet had taken off on June 22.
The military had been searching for the wreckage of the plane and the pilots since the aircraft was shot down on June 22. It announced on Wednesday that the bodies had been found and that efforts were under way to retrieve the remains.
The Nautilus, a specially designed vessel, was brought in to recover the wreckage. The Nautilus is a vessel owned by US oceanic explorer Robert Ballard, best known for discovering the wreck of the Titanic.
Syrian forces shot down an RF-4E Phantom, an unarmed reconnaissance version of the F-4 fighter jet, on June 22, when, according to Ankara, it was on a solo mission to test domestic radar systems. Ankara says the jet was hit in international airspace after it briefly strayed into Syrian airspace.
However, Syria insists that the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire within Syrian airspace. Turkey, while commenting that the act would “not go unpunished,” emphasized that it does not intend to go to war with Syria.
The findings from the wreckage site and an autopsy on the bodies of the pilots conducted on Thursday revealed that the jet was most probably hit by a missile. Military experts say further tests are needed to confirm exactly what hit the jet, but findings indicate that it couldn't possibly have been an anti-aircraft weapon.
A Hannover court threw out the case of a German couple seeking a refund for their holiday.
In 2014, Turkey’s electricity imports have risen due to lower than expected rains in winter and spring, and as a result hydropower plants did not meet their goal of providing a quarter of Turkey's electricity.
The number of publications in Kurdish has increased to 413 in the last year from 101 publications in 2008, statistics show.
The 1915 events took place during World War I, when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and rose up against the Ottoman authority. The uprisings were followed by a decision by the Ottoman Empire to relocate the Armenians living in eastern Anatolia.
Turkish dailies on Thursday are covering Turkish PM's paying tribute to Armenians who died in 1915.
Turkey has called for the research of the 1915 events to be carried out by a commission of Turkish, Armenian and international historians, the Turkish Prime Ministry said in a statement earlier on Wednesday ahead of the anniversary of the events.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan offered what the government said were unprecedented condolences to the grandchildren of Armenians killed in World War One
Convoy bound for Suleiman Shah Tomb in Turkish territory is planned activity, says military chief
AK Party Spokesman Celik still debating whether new election system will be a single member or narrowed district.
Turkish police say they plan to deport 135 illegal immigrants, including 120 Pakistanis.
Turkey condemned the forceful removal of the Ukrainian flag in the Crimean Tatar Mejlis by a group with unmarked military uniforms.
Turkey is looking good to potential investors according to visitors to the Borsa Istanbul forum in New York.
Turkey's President Gul calls for further cooperation with New Zealand on economy and commerce as he hosts New Zealand Governor-General Mateparae.
Former ministers will attend parliamentary debate corruption inquiry.
"The people do not want to see protesters clashing with police in the street. The people don't want streets scenes dominated by stones, sticks and Molotov cocktails" Erdogan said
Energy Minister Taner Yildiz will open the fair, and International Energy Agency Chief Economist Fatih Birol will deliver a speech during the opening ceremony.