(AsiaNews) - Turkey's President, Abdullah Gül, said a Turkish fighter might
have violated Syrian airspace. The acknowledgement might ease tensions after
yesterday's incident. Overnight, Syria said it shot down the Turkish Phantom F4
"according to the laws that govern such situations". The Turkish and Syrian
navies are now searching for the two crew members.
Turkish military said it lost radio contact with the F-4 at 11:58 (08:58 GMT)
while it was flying over Hatay, about 90 minutes after it took off from Erhac
airbase in the province of Malatya.
Syrian military statement said that an "unidentified air target" had
penetrated Syrian airspace at 11:40 local time (08:40 GMT), travelling at very
low altitude and at high speed.
said that in line with the laws prevailing in such cases, Syrian air defences
engaged the craft, and scored a direct hit about 1 km (0.6 miles) from its
it "became clear the target was a Turkish military plane which had entered
our airspace", the naval commands of the two countries were in touch, and
a joint operation was going on to find the missing crew members.
initial tensions, Turkey has taken a cautious approach to the incident. Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the country would "take the
necessary steps" once all the facts were known.
representative for the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said he urged the
parties to go "through diplomatic channels" to solve this "serious incident."
are not ill-intentioned things but happen beyond [anyone's] control due to the
jets' speed," President Gül said. An investigation would determine where the
plane was actually shot down, he added.
said that Ankara has open channels with Damascus, even though both countries
scaled down diplomatic relations at the start of the year.
withdrew our envoy from Syria for security reasons. This does not mean that we
have no contacts," he explained.
between NATO-member Turkey and Syria, once close allies, have deteriorated
sharply since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in
then, tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have fled the violence across the
border into Turkey.