Turkish, Syrian Forces Seek Downed Turkish Jet
By Jonathon Burch and Erika Solomon/Reuters
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Turkey and Syria to handle the matter with restraint, using diplomatic channels.
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said the downed jet was a reconnaissance aircraft. Turkish media had said it was an F-4 Phantom, a fighter also used for reconnaissance.
According to a Syrian military account, the Turkish plane was flying fast and low, just one kilometer off the Syrian coast when it was shot down. It had been tracked at first as an unidentified aircraft and its Turkish origin established later.
“The navies of the two countries have established contact. Syrian naval vessels are participating along with the Turkish side in the search operation for the missing pilots,” it said.
With the second biggest army in NATO, a force hardened by nearly 30 years of fighting Kurdish rebels, Turkey would be a formidable foe for a Syrian military already struggling to put down a popular uprising and an increasingly potent insurgency.
A civil war is already in full swing in Syria, where fighting or shelling engulfed parts of the cities of Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Deir al-Zor and Douma, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“PLAYING WITH FIRE”
Davutoglu met Turkey’s military commanders and intelligence chief to discuss the search for the pilots and Ankara’s next steps. He was due to make a statement about the incident on state TV on Sunday morning.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan held two security meetings with senior officials, less than 24 hours after he convened a crisis session on Friday evening.