World Bulletin / News Desk
A senior Turkish diplomat has rejected Russia's accusations that Turkey "endangered Russian lives" after forcing a Damascus-bound passenger plane on suspicions that it might be carrying weapons and military equipment.
In a written response to a question Thursday, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Selcuk Unal said the pilot had refused to provide the flight manifest of the Syrian Arab Airlines plane, adding that Turkey was informed by the Russian Embassy that the passengers included Russian nationals just before the plane took off from Ankara's Esenboga Airport following the confiscation of the suspected cargo.
Unal said Turkish authorities provided regular flow of information to the Russian Embassy as soon as they were informed about the Russian passengers.
"Concerns that lives and security of the passengers were put in danger are unfounded," Unal said, adding that a team of paramedics and an ambulance were on stand-by in case of an emergency.
Earlier on Thursday, Russian Ambassador in Ankara Vladimir Ivanovsky was summoned to meet with Turkish diplomats at the Foreign Ministry headquarters.
The Syrian plane was forced to land while enroute to Damascus from Moscow with 37 passengers, 17 of whom a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said were Russian nationals.
Turkish authorities confiscated part of the cargo aboard the Airbus A320 of the Syrian Arab Airlines for examination.
Turkey has yet to provide detailed information on what the contents of the confiscated cargo were but Turkish media reports have said the impounded cargo contained radio receivers, antennas and "equipment that are thought to be missile parts."
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the cargo contained "elements which are contrary to civilian aviation rules."
The grounding of the Syrian plane further escalated tensions between Turkey and its southern neighbor who have exchanged artillery and mortar fire since last Wednesday when a stray Syrian shell landed on Turkey's Akcakale town, killing two women and three children.
Turkey has been building up troops, tanks and anti-aircraft missiles along the Syrian border since the deadly
Syrian shelling as well as reinforcing war planes at a base in nearby Diyarbakir province.
Today’s newspapers cover Turkey’s ruling AK party’s congress to elect a new party chairman, and thousands of Turks forming what is hoped to be the world’s largest portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey.
It is not yet clear who he will be meeting during his stay, but there are believed to be no plans for him to meet Turkish Foreign Minister-turned-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
The nation recorded 162,445 medical tourists by the end of the first half of 2014.
Erdogan said he would ask incoming prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu to form a new government on Thursday and a new cabinet of ministers would be announced the following day.
At least 100 people are arriving from Iraq each day, many of them smuggled across the border by locals, sometimes paying up to $1,000 per family.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it is coordinating with Turkish authorities to find the workers, kidnapped by militants on Monday.
Many Yazidis fleeing from the war in Iraq are also waiting for shelter on the border with Turkey, according to some reports.
The advance of ISIL has alarmed Ankara and its Western allies, forcing them to step up intelligence sharing and tighten security cooperation.
Turkish dailies on Tuesday report on outgoing President Gul's farewell to the public and to his counterparts, and the dam river tragedy in Turkey's southeastern province of Siirt.
The firms were asked to extend their bids until the end of the year, the Defence Undersecretariat said in a statement.
Turkish Union of Bars head Metin Feyzioglu said he will attend a new legal year ceremony and speak, after President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would not attend in case of a Feyzioglu address.
Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu is to become prime minister after Erdogan is sworn in as president August 28, said Deputy PM Bulent Arinc.
The mission will end in January 2015 and not be renewed after being extended once last year, according to lower house of the Dutch parliament
The authorities are now making efforts to find the missing men.
Security officials say a coal power plant was attacked by Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) members.
Turkish dailies' front pages on Monday covered the assault of a prominent surgeon, reportedly by the former mayor of Sarikamis, in eastern Turkey, and the latest clashes between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.