Search teams find bodies of Turkish pilots shot down by Syria
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
EPA photoSearch and rescue teams have located the bodies of two Turkish pilots of a jet downed by Syria in the Mediterranean Sea today.
Pilot Cpt. Gökhan Ertan and pilot Lt. Hasan Hüseyin Aksoy had been missing since their RF-4 plane was shot down by Syria on June 22.
Search and rescue personnel were moving the bodies of the pilots from the sea bed onto a ship on the surface, reports said. The bodies were located at a depth of 1,260 meters.
The Turkish Army altered its rules of engagement regarding Syrian military targets after the downing of the jet. Any Syrian military vessel approaching the Turkish border will be considered a "threat," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a party meeting on June 26.
Pilot Cpt. Gökhan Ertan (L) and pilot Lt. Hasan Hüseyin
Aksoy. DHA photos
Turkey has sent missile batteries, tanks and troops to the border last week. Dozens of military vehicles headed for the border in a convoy that included air defense systems.
Turkey claims the plane was shot in international airspace with a heat- or laser-guided missile, but Syria rejects the claims, saying the Turkish jet was shot by anti-aircraft gunners as it flew at an altitude of 100 meters within Syrian airspace.