Turkish president says downing of fighter
by Syria cannot be ignored
Turkey vows 'necessary' action
against Syria, a day after Damascus said it shoots
down a Turkish fighter jet
June 23, 2012
ANKARA, Turkey,— Turkey's president says
his country would take the "necessary" action
against Syria, a day after Damascus said it had
brought down a Turkish military plane that had
entered its air space.
Abdullah Gul said Saturday that Turkey was still
trying to establish the exact circumstances of the
incident and whether the jet may have been brought
down in Turkish territory.
The incident further escalated tensions between the
two neighbors, which used to be allies before the
Syrian revolt began in March 2011. Turkey has become
one of the strongest critics of the Syrian regime's
brutal response to the country's uprising.
Turkish media say that Syrian and Turkish coast
guards are conducting a joint search mission for the
jet's two missing crew members on Saturday.
Earlier, Syria's official news agency SANA confirmed
that Damascus had downed the jet.
A military spokesman told SANA that "an unidentified
aerial target violated Syrian airspace, coming from
the west at a very low altitude and at high speed
over territorial waters" in the eastern
Mediterranean before being shot down.
SANA reported that the two countries' navies were
now cooperating in an operation to find the two
Turkish President Gul also said Ankara had been in
telephone contact with Damascus and that a search
operation for the plane and missing pilots was still
On June 22, the office of Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement that Turkey
would decide on a course of action once all the
facts are in.
Erdogan made the statement after an emergency
cabinet meeting with the military. His office also
said that search-and-rescue operations were
continuing for the missing pilots.
Turkish media had reported earlier that Syria had
apologized for the incident, but Erdogan made no
mention of any apology.
Turkey's military provided no details on the plane's
mission, but some Turkish TV reports said it was on
a reconnaissance flight.
The incident is likely to further sour relations
between Damascus and Ankara, which has backed calls
for Bashar Assad to step down over the uprising in
his country. Turkey has withdrawn its diplomatic
personnel from Syria,www.ekurd.net
saying its safety was in
Turkey also has set up refugee camps on its border
for more than 32,000 Syrians who have fled the
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc later said the
jet had been on a reconnaissance mission, state
The BBC's Jonathan Head in Istanbul reports that the
Turkish government is treating the loss of the
aircraft very seriously, but also with great
Despite public anger over the suffering of civilians
in Syria, Ankara has been very reluctant to consider
military intervention, our correspondent says.
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