Turkey denies Russian involvement in shooting incident

June 27, 2012, Wednesday/ 11:10:00/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM

Turkish Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz has denied a claim that Russian forces shot down a Turkish F-4 military jet off the Syrian coast.

Responding to questions posed by opposition deputies in Parliament late on Monday night, Yılmaz said his government has no knowledge of Russian involvement in the incident. He added that all evidence suggests Syria attacked the jet while it was on a peaceful mission with the full knowledge of the identity of the plane.

Masum Türker, chairman of the Democratic Left Party (DSP), alleged on Monday that a Russian ship was involved in the attack, rather than Syrian forces. “There are two Russian warships and a Russian frigate in Latakia's harbor,” he said, adding, “One of them, Admiral Chabanenko, has the technology to detect the slightest action in the air.”

Türker maintained that the Chabanenko shot down the Turkish jet, but Yılmaz categorically denied this claim, calling it a baseless allegation. “This is not true” he said, advising deputies believe the explanation offered by the Prime Ministry and Foreign Ministry.

A Turkish jet was shot down by Syrian forces while flying solo and unarmed 13 miles off the coast of Syria in international airspace on Friday. However, Syria still maintains the aircraft was in Syrian airspace when it shot down the plane.

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