World Bulletin / News Desk
Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz on Tuesday denied claims by a Dubai-based news channel that two Turkish pilots who died in June after their jet was downed by Syrian air forces were killed by the Syrian military after surviving the crash.
Responding to questions by reporters, Yılmaz said the Foreign Ministry examined the claims and its findings have shown that the allegations are “for certain not true.”
“Such claims should not be given credit,” the minister added.
The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya channel reported on Saturday that it obtained newly leaked Syrian intelligence documents with the assistance of members of the Syrian opposition that suggest that Capt. Gökhan Ertan and Lt. Hasan Hüseyin Aksoy were captured alive after their fighter jet was shot down on June 22, 2012, and were later killed by Syrian forces.
The RF-4E Phantom, an unarmed reconnaissance jet, crashed off the Syrian coast on June 22 amid tensions between Turkey and Syria over Syria's brutal crackdown on an anti-regime uprising. Syrian authorities claimed responsibility for downing the jet immediately following the incident but defended the action, saying that Syrian air defense was forced to react immediately to a Turkish jet flying low at 100 meters (330 feet) inside Syrian airspace in what was “a clear breach of Syrian sovereignty.” Syria also said the plane was downed by anti-aircraft fire, rather than by a missile, well within its airspace.
Turkey, on the other hand, maintained that the plane was shot down by a missile outside Syrian airspace -- 13 miles off the Syrian coast -- while it was on a solo mission to test domestic radar systems.
'Associating terrorism with Muslim countries is a grave mistake. Terrorism is a global catastrophe,' says Binali Yildirim
Turkish president urges EU countries to respect democracy, human rights and freedoms
Wednesday's decision comes as part of the March 8 indictment against main suspects in last July's coup attempt
Turkish army also retaliates in self-defense under international law
"It would be better to take measures together against those who are a threat instead of punishing normal passengers," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a visit to Washington.
Numan Kurtulmus raises 1986 murder of Olof Palme, says Europeans should know there is no such thing as a 'good' terrorist
'We cannot rely on another terrorist organization in our fight against ISIL,' Mevlut Cavusoglu says
"We particularly emphasise how this will not benefit the passenger and that reverse steps or a softening should be adopted," Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan told reporters, saying the decision was not right for Turkey or the US.
Kuwaiti emir’s current visit to Turkey reflects two countries’ deep and long-standing relations
Turkish president says EU has been dragging on Turkey’s accession process for years by imposing its criteria
Ahmet Aydin lends weight to referendum proposal to cut electoral candidates' age limit from 25 to 18 years
Turkish justice minister says that reforms are necessary to secure stability
At least 23 people killed, 45 others injured after car laden with explosives went off in shopping area in Iraqi capital
Bank raises interests paid to local lenders’ US dollar reserves by 25 basis points
BIST 100 index opens 0.31 pct higher to over 90,000 points; US dollar/Turkish lira rate stands around 3.62