Turkish PM, opposition leader clash over Syria-attacked jet

The prime minister also accused some Turkish media outlets of siding with the Syrian regime as loyally as pro-regime news outlets in Syria do.

Turkish PM, opposition leader clash over Syria-attacked jet

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused the country's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) of failing to display a “nationalistic” stance on the downing of a Turkish jet by Syria last month, accusing the CHP of acting like a spokesperson for the Syrian Baath regime.

“[Syrian leader] Bashar al-Assad is not talking about our [downed] jet as [CHP leader Kemal] Kılıçdaroğlu is already talking on his behalf. The CHP has apparently undertaken the role of spokesperson for the Baath regime in Turkey. The CHP leader did not display a nationalistic stance on our downed jet,” Erdoğan said on Wednesday during his party's expanded provincial chairmen meeting.

Erdoğan also criticized Kılıçdaroğlu for giving credence to a report by The Wall Street Journal that stated that the Turkish jet had been downed by Syrian forces in Syrian territorial waters. “You will, on the one hand, slander the [Justice and Development Party] AK Party by accusing it of carrying out some foreign countries' policies and, on the other hand, you will trumpet the lies of an American newspaper. What are you running after? Why are you pawns in this scenario? Kılıçdaroğlu is encouraging Turkey's enemies,” Erdoğan continued.

The prime minister also accused some Turkish media outlets of siding with the Syrian regime as loyally as pro-regime news outlets in Syria do.

Syrian forces shot down an F-4 Phantom, an unarmed reconnaissance version of the F-4 fighter jet, on June 22, when, according to Ankara, it was on a solo mission to test domestic radar systems. Turkey says the plane was hit in international airspace by Syria without warning in a “hostile act.”

Syria, on the other hand, says the plane was flying fast and low, at an altitude of 100 meters, and that it was only a kilometer off the Syrian coast when it was shot down. Syria also says the plane was hit by anti-aircraft weapons that only have a range of about two-and-a-half kilometers, rather than by a missile.

The Wall Street Journal's report, which cited US and Pentagon officials, claimed that the Turkish jet shot down by Syrian forces on June 22 was downed in Syrian airspace and not in international airspace, as the Turkish government maintains.

Last Mod: 11 Temmuz 2012, 14:57
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