In a letter delivered on Monday to the UN Security Council by Turkish Ambassador to the United Nations Ertuğrul Apakan, Turkey stated, “A Turkish RF-4 type military aircraft was shot down by Syrian forces while flying solo and without arms 13 NM off the coast of Syria in international airspace at an altitude of 7,400 feet.”
In the letter it was also noted that the identification markings of the jet were visible, the Turkish aircraft was not acting in a hostile manner and that a shot being fired without warning caused the jet to plunge into the Mediterranean Sea, eight miles off Syria’s coastal province of Latakia.
The letter also says that although the search operations should have been carried out jointly with Syrian authorities, Syria did not cooperate and fired at a second Turkish aircraft on Friday, but the second plane was not brought down.
The disclosure of the second incident came on the eve of a NATO crisis meeting that Turkey called to address the shooting down of its F-4 jet, which Ankara has described as an unprovoked attack in international airspace.
Delivering Turkey’s position on the recent incident and developments in Turkish-Syrian relations during a UN Security Council meeting Apakan said, “The international community should disclose its determination to stop the crisis from deepening further and take additional steps to put an end to the increasing violence in the region.”
Calling the attack a hostile act by the Syrian authorities against Turkey’s national security, Apakan said Turkey reserves its rights stemming from international law.
Apakan also noted that Turkey will continue to support the six-point peace plan of international envoy Kofi Annan, stressing however, that the process cannot be open ended.
Condemning the increasing death toll as a result of intentional attacks and the excessive use of force in Syria, Apakan underlined that the main responsibility to protect civilians belongs to states. “However, if states fail to protect civilians, the international community has a responsibility to protect civilians.”