The Turkish government under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has promised that Syria “will pay” for an attack on a Turkish military fighter jet Syria says was violating airspace over the Mediterranean June 22.
The plane entered Syrian airspace for only 5 minutes and was warned to change course, but was shot down only moments later.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said:
“It was a routine training flight and undertaking a national radar system test in respect of national security over recent developments on the Mediterranean coast. Our plane was unarmed and was performing a solo flight. Its flight was not whatsoever in a hostile one. To consider this flight as a threat is either an indication of bad intentions or amateurishness…”
Turkey has been backing the Syrian rebels in that country’s political uprising where thousands have fled Syria taking refuge in south eastern Turkey.
The Turkish foreign minister said that the attack has demonstrated the instability in Syria has begun to spread through the region and is now affecting neighboring countries like Turkey.
Syrian officials claim the incident was an accident:
“Syria was merely exercising its right and sovereign duty and defense,” Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said. “There is no enmity between Syria and Turkey, but political tension (exists) between the two countries.” “What happened was an accident and not an assault as some like to say, because the plane was shot while it was in Syrian airspace and flew over Syrian territorial waters,” Makdissi said.
Turkish rescue plane also attacked
The news was shared with the EU and NATO yesterday. News comes that Turkey took no action after Syrian planes violated its own airspace five times in recent months, but nothing was done because the acts were not seen as “hostile”.
Search continues for aircraft and missing pilots, feared dead
The aircraft is believed to be resting at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea at a depth of 1300 meters. No wreckage has been found as of late.