World Bulletin / News Desk
A Syrian plane detained by Turkey en route from Moscow to Damascus because of suspicions it was carrying military equipment was carrying no Russian weapons, a source in a Russian arms exporting agency told Interfax on Thursday.
"Neither weapons nor any kind of systems or parts for military equipment were on board or could have been on board," the news agency quoted the source as saying on condition of anonymity.
Military jets escorted the Damascus-bound Airbus A-320, carrying about 30 passengers from Moscow, into Ankara airport late on Wednesday after Turkey received intelligence that it was carrying military supplies.
Parts of the cargo were seized in Turkey before the passenger jet continued its trip. No details were given of its contents.
Russia has been one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's biggest allies, blocking three U.N. Security Council resolutions meant to pile pressure on him while selling his armed forces nearly $1 billion in arms last year.
The arms source said Moscow has not stopped its arms exports to Damascus, despite mixed signals from Russia over whether it has continued to supply Syria with weapons since the worsening of violence between rebels and forces loyal to Assad.
"If we needed to send any kind of military-technical equipment or arms it would have been carried out properly and not through any illegal means, certainly not on a civilian aircraft," the source said.
President Vladimir Putin said in June that Russia does not send Syria weapons that could be used in a civil conflict.
Russia demanded an explanation from Turkish authorities for the interception of the plane which took off from Moscow's Vnukovo Airport on Wednesday, Interfax cited a Russia Foreign Ministry source as saying on Thursday.
Salih Mirzabeyoglu, otherwise known as Salih Izzet Erdis, was locked up following Turkey's 28 February 1997 coup.
High-speed rail project linking Ankara and Istanbul to be opened on Friday after latest delays blamed on May sabotage.
Turkey's Deputy PM Bulent Arinc said a ceasefire must be declared at once between Palestine and Israel and demanded an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
A major operation in Istanbul and other cities sees more police officers and officials detained in a wiretapping probe.
Erdogan said all international actors should condemn such inhuman attacks of Israel on innocent children in Gaza.
Turkish dailies reported Wednesday on the operation in Istanbul and other cities against the police officers and officials in wiretapping probe and the latest clashes in Israel and Palestine.
Turkish carriers will not fly to Israel's Ben Gurion Airport in the next 24 hours.
Tuesday’s phone conversation was the second between the two officials within 24 hours and the third in five days.
Turkish Airlines has decided to suspend its Tel Aviv flights for a 24-hour period
The US again slammed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent remarks in which he compared Israel’s military attacks on Gaza Strip to the acts of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Muslims can no longer be unified under the rule of a single ruler like a caliph but could emulate political blocs like the European Union, Gormez said
Turkish president calls for urgent ceasefire as country starts three days of mourning for Gaza dead.
At least 76 officers were detained in 22 provinces around the country on suspicion of forming a criminal organisation and illegally bugging phones
Turkish dailies on Tuesday continued to give wide coverage to the Israeli offensive in Gaza, the upcoming Turkish presidential election and a Malaysian airliner which was downed over eastern Ukraine.
Turkey's government announced a three-day period of national mourning, starting on Tuesday, in a show of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.
The attack on southeastern Sanliurfa city leaves twoTurkish soldiers on border duty dead and injured two others late on Monday.