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.
Turkish, Iranian leaders speak over the phone and vow to improve bilateral ties
Two men arrested in Malaysia earlier this month are remanded; third suspect released under judicial restrictions
Turkish president predicts by 2035 Turkey's population will top 90M and it will join world's richest countries
Pair discuss facilities, services provided to refugees in Turkey
Property sales see a yearly increase of 7.6 percent in the month, according to official data
100 held in capital Ankara, including 21 former personnel of education and development ministries
BIST 100 index rises to over 97,700 points; Turkish lira goes down against US dollar
Houthi fighters allegedly attack convoy of UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed in Yemen
Injuries sustained when handmade explosives detonated by terrorists
Total foreign direct investments reaches $2.8B in first quarter
Foreign Ministry summoned US ambassador to Turkey to protest 'unprofessional actions' of American security personnel
Turkish president expected to hold series of meetings with world leaders
Supporting countries for secure, affordable and sustainable energy is required to end poverty and build prosperity: WB
German magazine accuses Energy Minister of having ‘huge amount of money in Dubai’
Hulusi Akar says fight with terror to continue against PKK/PYD/YPG, FETO, ISIL until the last terrorist is neutralized