Syria, Turkey urged to exercise restraint over downed jet
United Nations head Ban Ki-moon has urged Syria and Turkey to exercise restraint in their exchanges over Friday’s incident in which Syrian forces shot down a Turkish F-4 jet near Syria’s Mediterranean coast.
In a statement issued in New York Saturday, he called on them to resolve the incident through diplomatic means.
Syria has described the jet’s downing as a deplorable mishap. Turkey, however, is fuming.
Syrian and Turkish rescue teams have so far failed to locate the pilots of the ill-fated Syrian plane.
Turkish jet downed ‘inadvertently’ – Damascus
A Syrian diplomatic spokesman has said on Turkish television that Syria meant no harm when its air defence forces downed the Turkish F-4 jet that disappeared from radar screens over the Eastern Mediterranean Friday shortly after taking off from an airbase in southeastern Turkey.
He expressed regret over the jet’s downing, said he hoped the pilots would be soon rescued, and the two neighbouring countries would put the entire incident behind them.
The diplomat pointed out that Syrian forces are under orders to automatically shoot down foreign military aircraft that violate Syria’s national air space.
Turkish pilots still missing
Turkish and Syrian rescue teams have so far failed to find the crew of the Turkish F-4 jet that disappeared from radar screens Friday shortly after taking off from an airbase in southeastern Turkey.
Syria says its air defence forces downed the plane following its intrusion into Syrian airspace near the Mediterranean coast..
Television reports that the rescuers have found debris in the search area have not been independently confirmed.
Turkish PM to hold second security meeting over jet-TV
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will hold a second security meeting with senior officials on Saturday over a Turkish jet shot down by Syria a day earlier.
Turkish media reported. The meeting will be Erdogan’s second security meeting over the incident in less than 24 hours and follows a separate meeting between Turkey’s foreign minister and senior military commanders.
Turkish minister, military chiefs discuss next steps-TV
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held a meeting with commanders from Turkey’s military and the head of the intelligence service to discuss what steps Turkey would take after Syria shot down one of its military aircraft, media reported.
The meeting lasted two hours and was attended by the military’s deputy chief of staff, senior military commanders and the head of the National Intelligence Agency, who also discussed the search operation for the missing pilots, media reported citing the Foreign Ministry.
They gave no further details.
Turkish F-4 shot down by Syria – SANA
Syrian air defenses shot down a Turkish F-4 Phantom fighter after its pilot violated Syrian airspace according to a statement released by the country’s military government agency SANA.
Earlier the office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that the Turkish military aircraft was shot down by Syrian air defenses.
Rescue operations continue in the area of the incident. However the fate of the two pilots remains unknown.
Ankara has not yet decided on what measures should be taken and what position to take on this issue.
The decision will be made after all of the details of the incident are clarified, said the head of the Turkish government.
Turkish F-4 shot down by Syria – Erdogan
The Turkish F-4 Phantom fighter which disappeared from radar screens while flying over the Mediterranean on Friday was shot down by Syrian forces. According to a statement by the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“After reviewing the data collected by the relevant organizations and the information obtained during the search and rescue operation we have concluded that the plane was shot down by Syria,” reads the statement.
It also says that Turkey is determined to take necessary measures as soon as details of the incident are clarified.
Meanwhile the search and rescue operation continues.
Earlier, Erdogan said he did not have precise data, whether the fighter jet was shot down by Syria.
Search for Turkish fighter continues
On Friday at about 12:00 PM Moscow time, the Tracking Service of the Turkish Air Force lost radio contact an F-4 fighter that was flying near Syrian territorial waters according to reports by a correspondent for the Voice of Russia.
There are conflicting reports in the media including a version that the plane was shot down by Syria. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had just returned from Brazil, gave an emergency press conference at the Esenboga Airport in the capital and neither confirmed nor refuted reports that the plane was shot down by Syrian air defenses.
“I’m not saying that the plane was shot down by Syria. We currently do not have accurate reports,” stated the Prime Minister.
The prime minister said that he also has no information that the Syrian side has already apologized for the incident.
Erdogan noted that more detailed information about the state of emergency will be available after a detailed study of the issue at a special meeting.
A search for pilots, according to the prime minister, is being carried out jointly with the Syrian side.
VOR, RIA, TASS, Reuters
Jun 23, 2012