In a statement released by the General Staff on Friday, the military said its investigation shows that Syria did not down a Turkish jet by means of an anti-aircraft weapon.
The statement, which added further confusion to the jet controversy, refuted the claims of Syrian officials, saying the criminal investigation revealed that the jet was not downed by anti-aircraft fire and that the cause of the incident will be clear once all the debris from the jet is brought up from the seabed.
A series of public statements meant to shed light on how a Turkish jet crashed off the Syrian coast in a June 22 incident have raised a barrage of questions, including whether the aircraft was shot down by Syrian forces at all, creating a headache for the government.
In one of the most recent statement on the incident, the military apparently called into question a constant of the Turkish narrative: that the F-4 Phantom was shot down by Syrian forces. Contrary to all other statements made to the public so far, the military referred to the plane as “our aircraft that Syrian authorities claimed to have downed,” immediately raising questions as to whether the plane's downing was an accident.
The statement also mentioned that military officials are looking for new means of retrieving the wreckage after exploration vessel the EV Nautilus was forced to put off the search when its camera system broke down.
Also earlier this week, a military spokesman created much speculation over whether the plane was downed as a result of a missile attack when he revealed that there was no conclusive evidence at hand, as of yet, that indicated the plane was shot down by a missile. “Our jet had a missile detection system. So if there had been any threat of a missile, the system would have detected it,” Brig. Gen. Baki Kavun said in remarks published in a Turkish newspaper.
When asked if Turkey had any footage or radar images that decisively confirmed that the plane was shot down by a missile, Kavun said, “There are no images of a missile.”