Syria ally Iran urges calm over Turkish jet shot down
TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse
Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, left, talks to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, June 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
Iran has urged Ankara and Damascus to show "restraint" over Syria's shooting down of a Turkish fighter jet, Iranian state media reported on Sunday.
Tehran "asks both sides to show calm and restraint, and hopes that with tact and tolerance and dialogue this issue will be evaluated and through a peaceful resolution, tranquillity and stability will be preserved in the region," Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying.
He made the appeal in a telephone conversation late Saturday with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu.
Iran is the staunchest ally of Syria, which is embroiled in a 15-month conflict UN officials fear has become a civil war.
Turkey, a NATO member, sits on the other side as a critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's vicious crackdown against the unrest.
A Syrian anti-aircraft battery near the Turkish border on Friday shot down a Turkish Phantom warplane that Damascus said had violated its air space by flying in low and fast from the Mediterranean.
Turkey has taken care not to inflame the sensitive incident by admitting its aircraft may have entered Syrian territory, though suggested it could have been unintentional.
Still, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara "will announce its final position and take necessary steps with determination after the incident is entirely clarified." Syria and Turkey said their navies were coordinating in a search for the Phantom's two pilots.