|  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
17 April 2014, Thursday
 
 
Today's Zaman
 
 
 
 

Turkey says jet shot down in international airspace

Read Comment
17
TURKEY'S FOREIGN MINISTER AHMET DAVUTOGLU SPEAKS ON STATE BROADCASTER TRT IN ANKARA ON JUNE 24, 2012. (PHOTO: REUTERS)
24 June 2012, Sunday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM WITH WIRES
Turkey said on Sunday Syria had shot down its military aircraft in international airspace on Friday without warning and declared it would formally consult its NATO allies on a reaction.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, speaking some 48 hours after the jet was shot down near both countries' sea borders, told state broadcaster TRT the plane had been clearly marked as Turkish and dismissed Syria's earlier statement it had not known the plane belonged to Turkey.

He said the downed jet was unarmed and had been on a solo mission to test domestic radar systems and that the flight had no connection to the crisis in neighbouring Syria.

"Our plane was shot at a distance of 13 sea miles from Syria's border in international airspace," Davutoğlu said.

"According to the radar images, our plane lost contact with headquarters after it was hit and because the pilot lost control, it crashed into Syrian waters after making abnormal movements," he said.

"Throughout this entire period no warning was made to our plane."

The shooting down of the aircraft has added a further serious international dimension to the 16-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, that Turkey, along with other Western and Arab countries, has supported on the world diplomatic stage.

Turkey is giving shelter to the rebel Free Syria Army (FSA), and accommodating refugees on its southeastern border with Syria, some 50 km (30 miles) from where the Turkish aircraft was shot down. But it denies providing arms for the insurgents.

NATO Article 4

Davutoğlu said he would formally report the incident to the NATO military alliance this week under article four of its founding treaty, as well as to the U.N. Security Council.

"I have made instructions for a notification to be made within the framework of Article 4 at the NATO Council meeting in the upcoming week," Davutoğlu said.

"In addition, a notification will be made to the U.N. Security Council in light of the information we have regarding the background to this aggressive attitude," he said.

NATO's article four provides for states to "consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened".

It stops short of the explicit mention of possible armed responses cited in article five.

A NATO spokeswoman said envoys from member states would meet on Tuesday following Turkey's request for consultations.

Syria has said the plane was flying fast and low, just one kilometre off the Syrian coast when it was shot down. It had been tracked at first as an unidentified aircraft and its Turkish origin established later.

Davutoğlu dismissed Syria's explanation, saying the plane's identity was clear for all to see and said Damascus was transmitting "disinformation" to the Turkish public.

He said the downed jet had briefly crossed into Syrian airspace 15 minutes before it was shot down but had then also received no warning from Syria. He said such flights often cross into other countries' airspace.

Davutoğlu said the search for the missing pilots was continuing in coordination with the Syrian authorities, but said it could not be described as a joint operation.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan would make a statement at his ruling party's meeting in parliament on Tuesday, the foreign minister added. He said Ankara had begun to implement its response to the incident, but gave no details of the plan.   

British Foreign Minister William Hague condemned Syria's downing of the Turkish jet, calling it an "outrageous act".    

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commended Turkey for the restraint it had shown in its initial reaction upon learning its jet had been downed on Friday. A statement released by the office of Ban's spokesperson said that in a telephone conversation between Ban and Davutoğlu, the secretary-general expressed his deep concern about the downed military jet and particularly about the potential serious implications for the region.

“Ban said that his thoughts were with the families of the missing pilots,” the statement added. The statement also said Ban appreciated the fact that Turkey and Syria were conducting a joint search-and-rescue operation. “The Secretary-General urged both to continue to address the situation diplomatically,” it said.

“He said the United Nations was prepared to provide any support that would be helpful in these difficult circumstances,” it added.

Syria said on Saturday that it shot down a Turkish reconnaissance plane after it entered Syrian airspace, insisting it was “not an attack” as both sides desperately try to de-escalate this episode in order to avert a regional conflagration.

The incident 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.

 
 
COMMENTS
WE NEED TO REMAIN TOGETHER AND TO FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS UNTIL THE END WE NEED TO LOVE ALL THE TURKISH CITIZENS WE DO NOT COUNT STRANGERS WE CONT NATIONS WHO WANT TO ACCSEPT TURANISM EITHER YOU ARE WITH US OR AGAINST US WE DONT LIVE TO SERVE STRANGE NATION LIKE IRAN OR ASAD WE NEED TO SERVE O...
ATATURK
Now we know Turkey set this up on purpose. They knew that Israel had threatened to attack Syria and Iran, and that violating Syria's airspace at this time would end in this result. It was just to create a pretext for NATO to get its foot in the door for an eventual invasion. Notice that Turkey us...
Sam Freeman
Most of the anti-Turkish writers on here are so foolish they don't even know about basic physics. It obviously takes an uneducated, racist low life to make such absurd statements.
Metin
@rosebud, if an aircraft travelling at great speed and at an altitude is shot down, it doesn't just drop down like a lead balloon, it falls down following a parabolic trajectory. And if that trajectory happens to cross into someone?s airspace, the aircraft continues to fall in accordance with the la...
Baris
To rosebud, do you think when a plan is shot down, it will be crushed to the projection of its position on the surface? Go and study high school physics again, if you ever did it at all... To geokav, no country would declare a war onto another just because a plan briefly violated its airspace. Is t...
Musa
Erdogan says one thing. Gul says another thing. And no, the genius Davutoglu says something totally different. How creative! Now if this team is not running a farce, then someone should define the word farce. No government since the days of Ataturk has made of the great nation of Turkey the butt of ...
Pranky
To the great misfortune of Turkey the Jet was found in SYRIAN waters. How clumsy can one be in making false statements to hide the truth? Turkey is Olympic champion on that!
rosebud
Shooting down a millitary aircraft in international airspace is an act of war. Or it wasn't? Also entering foreign airspace on a millitary mission with a recon aircraft is an act of war... Choose what you want.
geokav
The aircraft concerned was an MD F4 Phantom and as such was elderly to say the least! The RAF retired ours back in the mid-1980's. The Phantom (formidable as it was in its day) was hardly 'stealthy' and therefore could hardly be described as a 'spy' plane. Perhaps it was on a Reconn: Sortie, perhaps...
Chris Green
Syria might have shot down by mistake, NO one with its right mind would mess with Turkey.
Raffi
Davutoğlu is rediculous with his "zero problems with the neighbours" narrative,sticking his nose everywere in the region: Kurdistan, Syria, Israel, Cyprus... badly needs NATO umbrella now, when the nose is bleeding, again.
Beer
Davutoğlu pointing one finger at Syria and three fingers towards himself (see photo above) looks ominous. ?We will, without any hesitation, decisively take the necessary steps regarding the Turkish plane downed by Syria?. What, what, what will you do? Please please tell, the suspense is killing us a...
DaniC
HO HO HO, no, not again. intl. waters ? we already used this excuse over the Marmara. let's try something new this time, let's say, the pilot was going to write an enormous "will you marry me ?" sign all over east med waters, and the dot in the "?" fell in Syrian space.
musa
How long will you be going on to fool the World with lots of different and confusing stories? Just say sorry and the World will accept it and give you honour instead of playing the "Turkey is great and never fails" card?
someone
Davutoglu's statement basically said Syria attacked "unarmed" Turkish plane in international air space and that Turkey will respond decisively. No one can test Turkey's capacity to defend itself, Turkish FM says regarding Syria's plane shot down
hunter
Even fore a cover story this is pathetic. Still unable to state the obvious. 'Turkish spy plane shot down over Syria.'. The only real question now is whether the spy flights will be discontinued or not.
Babeouf
The stamen of the Mr. Davutoglu is premature and therefore less convincing. We have to wait until the investigation based on the facts have been collected.
DenizCan
Click here to read all user comments
DIPLOMACY  Other Titles
US warns against damage to ties over recurring media claims
Chief ombudsman laments low implementation of KDK recommendations
KRG's Barzani visits Ankara for talks with Erdoğan
Villagers file suit against ministry over stray bullets from Syria
Chinese deputy foreign minister in Ankara for inter-delegation meeting
Turkey says deeply concerned over events in Ukraine
‘Turkey will not remain silent over 'genocide resolution' if adopted’
Russia welcomes Turkey's assurances on observance of Montreux terms
Poland: NATO should send troops to east Europe, ignore Russia's objections
US looks to Turkey to uphold checks and balances
Dubai may be a hub for Turkey and Iran's illicit transactions
US House Speaker meets senior Turkish officials in Ankara
EU Minister Çavuşoğlu says Füle's comments on Turkey ‘balanced'
US Ambassador Ricciardone has talks with AK Party officials
Turkey's honorary consuls meet to discuss foreign policy
Iran to build cultural center in the heart of İstanbul
Loğoğlu: No Turkish institution in US works against Turkey
Erdoğan will further polarize Turkey as presidential election approaches
European Union concerned about rule of law in Turkey
Turkey seeks to restore dialogue with Serbia with FM's visit
Turkish Rights groups slam Egypt over execution ruling
Turkey to boost relations with Afghanistan, backing stability in post-election era
Erdoğan's political ambitions clash with Turkey's long-term interests
Critics say Turkey no longer state with rule of law with MİT bill
Turkey might export domestic political tension to diaspora
...
Bloggers