World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said an F-4 jet downed by Syria on Friday was hit in international airspace and that it was on a training mission to test Turkey's own national radar system, adding that it was unarmed and had no mission related to Syria.
“The downed Turkish jet was shot down in the international flight zone 13 miles outside of Syria's flight zone,” he said on Sunday during an interview with TRT Haber. He further noted that the jet was only tasked with a routine test of Turkey's own radar system. In reference to Syria's response, Davutoğlu said, “It is either amateurish behavior or ill-intention to describe the Turkish plane as a threat.”
Explaining that in order to conduct the radar test the plane had to fly at a low altitude, Davutoğlu said the jet was hit 13 miles off the Syrian coast in international air space. “Our plane shortly violated Syrian airspace, but not during the time it was shot down,” he said.
The foreign minister further said Syria had not delivered any warnings to Turkey. “During the entire operation conducted by the downed jet, Syria made no attempt to contact Turkish authorities by any means,” he said. Davutoğlu added that Turkish intelligence intercepted radio communications from the Syrian side suggesting that they knew it was a Turkish plane.
He said Turkey's response will be clear after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's scheduled meeting with opposition leaders on Sunday. “We will, without any hesitation, decisively take the necessary steps regarding the Turkish plane downed by Syria,” he added.
Syria said Saturday it shot down a Turkish reconnaissance plane because the plane entered its airspace, insisting it was "not an attack" as both sides desperately tried to de-escalate the episode before it exploded into a regional conflagration.
The downed plane heightened tensions between two countries that had been allies before Syria's 15-month violent uprising, and signaled that the violence gripping Syria is increasingly bleeding outside its borders. Germany and Iraq were among the countries urging restraint in the region.
Syria and neighboring Turkey had cultivated close ties before the Syrian revolt began in March 2011, but since then Turkey has become one of the strongest critics of Syria's regime.
Turkey's delegation at parliamentary assembly will grow from 12 to 18 members in light of its population
Turkish president was very clear about Ankara's expectations from EU, Mevlut Cavusoglu says
Operations launched in five provinces as part of probe into terrorist organization's financial network
Parliamentary inquiry committee head for July 15 defeated coup says FETO behind attempt under orders from US-based Gulen
6 Turkish soldiers and 1 security guard are killed in counterterrorism operations
BIST 100 index rises 0.02 percent while US dollar/Turkish lira rate stands at 3.57
German chancellor says troops will have to leave Turkish air base if Ankara continues to block visit of German lawmakers
Inauguration ceremony attended by host of Turkish, Sudanese officials and figures
Humanitarian aid for Somalia will be sent within two days, says Turkish Red Crescent head
Some security personnel also injured in clash with PKK terrorists
2017 'very symbolic' year as it marks 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties, says Ukraine's ambassador to Ankara
BIST 100 index falls 0.11 percent while US dollar/Turkish lira rate stands at 3.55
Foreign Ministry says Ankara is 'strongly determined' to maintain close cooperation with African countries
Newly-launched OrmaTurk company will produce domestically-produced geothermal turbines