Ship combs for downed Turkish jet
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
TCG Çeşme (A-559) ship arrives in the south to join search for downed plane. DHA photo
Syria has returned some minor parts of the jet it shot down to Turkey, but the parts do not provide any useful information about how the plane was downed. The part Syria delivered was not the tail, as Syria had claimed, but another small part which did not show any indication of bullet holes.
“The basic information for us is not those parts, but radar data,” a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. Ankara is not optimistic about finding the wreckage of the plane, since the depth is too great, according to military and technical experts. “There is a question mark whether it will even be possible to go down that deep,” the official said.
Turkey’s Naval Forces’ TCG Ceşme (A-599) boat for hydrographical and oceanographical searches has arrived in the area where Turkey’s RF-4E Phantom was shot down by Syria. The boat started to search to find the exact location of the wreckage. Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said they had presented a part of the Turkish F-4 plane with bullet holes in it to Turkey – thus proving that the plane had not been shot down by a rocket.
Turkish officials said the jet had been flying 200 feet over the sea for a short while for radar tests but had then climbed to higher levels before it was shot down. Officials said the plane could not have been shot down by an antiaircraft weapon, since the plane was shot 13 miles away and downed eight miles from the Syrian shore. According to Turkey’s action plan on the crisis, after informing the international community, Turkey will continue to show restraint, but will not keep a low profile responding to any violation by Syria of Turkish borders.
Ankara brought the case to NATO in yesterday’s permanent representatives’ meeting in Brussels, but did not raise invoking Article 5 of the alliance, which calls for a military response. Turkey has not asked for any defense support from the alliance’s capabilities so far, the official said. The United States and Britain may also carry the case to the U.N. Security Council’s agenda.