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.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says troops at Bashiqa called on to provide support fire for Peshmerga
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkish special forces could support Iraqi offensive but dismisses wider role
Yildirim says AK Party also plans to issue 5-year terms for deputies
Turkish president says military must go to ISIL-held Al-Bab city
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says referendum will determine reforms as early as April
The cats of Turkey are something else, and in this video, an elderly man feeds a cat water at a mosque whilst he was performing his ablution
Turkish General Staff says FSA fighters were killed in offensive to retake villages in Mare district, near Al-Bab
Militants take three Turkmen families hostage in Iraq’s northern city of Kirkuk, local official tells Anadolu Agency
Bilal Eksi will replace him, leaving his position at the country's civil aviation authority
Terrorists throw Molotov cocktail in Van province school
Defense ministry sources say Turkey wants to see armed groups pull back to east of Euphrates River
Security forces also destroy a vehicle loaded with three tons of explosives in Savur, Mardin province
Turkey has appointed a permanent Imam at the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he would stress the need to respect Iraq's sovereignty during a visit on Friday to Turkey
Sibel Ozturk braves the horrors of war, racing against time to save lives in northern Syria
If you advocate someone’s rights, then you do not kill others, says tribal reprsentative