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Turkey Accuses Syria of Downing Warplane in International Air Space

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Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has accused Syria of shooting down a Turkish warplane in international air space.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has accused Syria of shooting down a Turkish warplane in international air space.

The Turkish reconnaissance plane “was performing a test and training flight to control the operation of the national radar and its flight was not aimed against Syria,” the minister said in an interview with TRT state television.

The plane was shot down in international air space and fell in Syria’s territorial waters, he said.

The RF-4E reconnaissance aircraft disappeared over the Mediterranean, near the Syrian coast, at about 09:00 GMT on Friday.

Davutoglu said Syria knew in advance about the flight of the Turkish plane.

“Syria knew that the plane was Turkish,” he said, adding the Syrian side did not warn the plane’s crew about its planned actions, as was required by international law.

The joint search by the naval forces of Turkey and Syria for the two pilots of the downed Turkish warplane in the Mediterranean Sea near the Syrian coast has not yet produced any results. Previous reports have said the plane wreckage was found in the sea but this information has not yet been officially confirmed.

The Turkish foreign minister has said Ankara will take all necessary measures envisaged by international law against Syria in the wake of the downed jet incident.

“No one should have doubts on this score,” he said.

“Specific measures that will be taken will become known after consultations with the prime minister and a government meeting,” Davutoglu said.

Syria has said it shot down the Turkish warplane over its territorial waters after it intruded into its air space. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has said this was not an act of aggression against Turkey but defense of the country’s sovereignty.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged both counties to settle the incident by diplomatic means and expressed fears that the incident could have far-reaching consequences for the region.

Relations between NATO-member Turkey and Syria have declined dramatically since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March last year. The border between the two countries is "awash" with Syrian refugees and rebel fighters, the al Arabiya TV channel has said.

 

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