Turkey says Syria shot down jet in international airspace
Search-and-rescue team still searching for two pilots
The nation of Turkey has declared that Syria shot down its military aircraft in international airspace. Turkey also said it would be consulting with its NATO allies on a reaction. Search teams have since located the wreckage in Syrian waters at a depth of 1,300 meters. Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says that search-and-rescue teams were still searching for the two missing pilots.
The downed fighter plane incident is highly regrettable as Turkey was one of the few nations with close ties with Syria before the uprising.
The plane had been clearly marked as Turkish and Davutoglu said he did not agree with Syria's earlier statement it had not known the plane belonged to Ankara.
The F4 fighter plane "was hit when it was a distance of 13 miles from the Syrian coast." The plane entered Syrian airspace on Friday, but quickly left when warned, Davutoglu said.
The jet was on a training mission, and "not involved in any operation against Syria." It was reportedly testing Turkey's own radar and defense systems.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned Syria on Sunday for the "brazen and unacceptable" shooting down of a Turkish fighter jet; she will be working with Ankara on a suitable response.
"It is yet another reflection of the Syrian authorities' callous disregard for international norms, human life, and peace and security," Clinton said in a written statement.
Envoys from NATO member states will meet in Brussels on this week after Turkey requested consultations over the downing of its military jet by Syria. "Turkey has requested consultations under Article 4 of NATO's founding Washington Treaty. Under Article 4, any ally can request consultations whenever, in the opinion of any of them, their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened," NATO official Oana Lungescu said.
"The NAC (North Atlantic Council) will meet on Tuesday at Turkey's request. We expect Turkey to make a presentation on the recent incident."
The incident is regrettable as Turkey was one of the few nations with close ties with Syria before the uprising.
Turkey has previously floated the possibility of setting up some kind of safe haven or humanitarian corridor inside Syria since the recent uprisings. Such as corridor would entail military intervention, but Turkey insists that it would undertake no such action without U.N. Security Council approval.
Davutoglu had briefed world powers about the downing of its plane this past weekend even as a joint search for the missing airmen continued.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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