MURAT YETKİN > Syria shot Turkish jet in front of many eyewitnesses

The eastern Mediterranean is surrounded by many watching military eyes, leading many to wonder why no one witnessed the shooting down of a Turkish jet

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In his address to his Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) in the Parliament today, June 26, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to make an important statement about the country’s next move regarding Syria’s shooting down of a Turkish reconnaissance plane on June 22 off Syrian coast.

Following the June 25 cabinet meeting with all three main opposition parties in the Parliament, a meeting with foreign ambassadors in Ankara on June 24 and high-level security meetings on June 23 there has been a heavy diplomatic traffic denouncing Syria since the day the incident occurred, and now all eyes will be on Erdoğan.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, in an interview with state-run television channel TRT on June 24, gave a detailed, minute-by-minute account of the incident and said it was a deliberate attack on an unarmed, open ID plane located outside Syrian territorial waters and without any advance warning given. Davutoğlu is operating as the coordinator of this crisis in Ankara. Despite Davutoğlu’s statements the Syrian government insists the plane was in Syrian territory and quite close, allowing it to be shot by a 2.5 kilometer range anti-aircraft gun.

Syrian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Jihad Makdissi claimed that they had presented a part of an American made Turkish F-4 plane with bullet holes on it (thus proving the plane was not shot down by a rocket) to Turkey, but no Turkish source has so far confirm that. Turkish search and rescue efforts, on the other hand, found some parts of the cockpit and seats in open sea waters, which are reported to have traces of explosion and fire. The two Turkish pilots are still missing with hopes for their survival decreasing.

Now Hürriyet Daily News has additional information from official Turkish sources saying the plane was shot at 11:56 a.m. on June 22 (when the radio contact was lost) and crashed into the sea at 11:58 a.m. (when the radar track was lost) and during the one plus minute it glided down into Syrian territorial waters. Turkey says it has given all chronological accounts, including radar tracks and radio communications to its NATO allies and United Nations representations. The European Union Commission imposed new sanctions on Syria and denounced its militaristic politics on June 25. NATO has been called by Turkey for a meeting scheduled today for a presentation of the attack.

The attack actually took place in front of many eyewitnesses. The north corner of the East Mediterranean is one of the most condensed spot in the world when it comes to military and intelligence activities.

The Malatya, Erhaç air base of Turkey (see map on the front page) hosts a major early warning radar system for the NATO missile shield defense system, which started operation following the NATO summit in May, serving as a major issue between the United States and Russia. In Tartus, south of the main Syria city of Latakia where the Turkish plane was shot down off the coast, lies Russia’s main naval base in the Mediterranean with important intelligence capabilities. It is important for Russians to be close to three important targets at once; that is the main reason for them to back the actions of the Beshar Al-Assad regime against its own people: Incirlik NATO base, south of Turkey is one of biggest of its kind in the world is north of Tartus. Right to its west there is the Dikelia base of the United Kingdom, a main military and intelligence facility which also keeps an eye on the Suez channel and Aegean. To its south there is Israel, the main threat of its best ally in the region and its host regime, Syria. Perhaps there is no need to say that Israel is trying its best not to miss anything in this highly strategic part of the region.

There is no need to say that for many countries having satellites, this is a pretty attractive location to watch.

And so the question is: Is it possible not to see the attack with so many witnesses around? Another question: Is it possible to hide the truth when there are so many eyes watching?


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Notice on comments

Yousif Yacoub

6/26/2012 9:09:07 PM

Exactly, does this incident need eyewitnesses?. No, everyone knows very very well that the aircraft has (accidentally?) penetrated the Syrian airspace and shot down within the syrian territories. However, all pro Syian -apposition powers, includingTurkey, are looking for a reason to blame Syria in order to mount pressure on it's government. Turkey, unfortuanately, has been trapped in this dirty game led by the west and its allies in the region in the interests of Saudis and Israelis.

abubakir nur

6/26/2012 8:22:51 PM

Truth needs no embellishment. Because it is just that. The truth WILL be revealed. That is the inherrent nature of TRUTH!

abubakir nur

6/26/2012 8:15:50 PM

A tragic event, innocent lives lost,men who were probably fathers cherishing dreams for their children.wives widowed.as the old addage goes,OLD men lie YOUNG men die.the truth must be known to bring full disclosure, and decisive steps taken to bring those responsible to FULL justice. May the ALMIGHTY grant the families of these young men fortitude to bear their grief.our prayers are with you in these difficult circumstances.

sam stevens

6/26/2012 4:51:54 PM

Only when we see the photograph of those 'bullet holes' will we really know how close this plane was. If we are not shown.... I suspect we won't be, then it will look as though Turkey is not being truthful when it talks of missiles.

Joshua Bronxman

6/26/2012 4:38:42 PM

Any satellite info on this incident? The area must be pretty well covered. As for Israel and/or Russia providing input, if it happens it won't be in the newspapers.

Blue Dotterel

6/26/2012 3:03:16 PM

Most of the "witnesses" are avowed enemies of the Syrian regime. Do you really think they would tell the truth when they have already lied about Iraq and Libya, and recently, the Houla massacre? Beware of the Western propaganda machine. It does not exist to tell the truth, but to twist the facts in their own interest. The wars in Iraq, Libya and Syria are classic cases of Bernays' "engineering of consent".

Blue Dotterel

6/26/2012 2:32:27 PM

This has been an obvious and dangerous provocation committed by the Erdogan government and no doubt NATO. Nato members have been lying about the situation in Syria (the Houlas massacre lie among others) in an effort to enable the warmongers in the West to destroy Syria as they have Libya. NATOhas become the greatest threat to world peace since Nazi, Germany - Stop NATO!

turkic voice

6/26/2012 1:39:00 PM

look times are tense and us turks and the others need to be realy carfull not to escalate things it starts off as usual 100s dieing so they go to save the 100s and kill 1000s doing so. this is unfair lets sole things peacfully sounds like a stupid mistake by us turks.

Ata M

6/26/2012 11:46:06 AM

What a wonderful world we live in. Death,Destruction and War. Ridiculous.

Adam Polk

6/26/2012 11:24:37 AM

@Rimon Tree, have you seen the data which Turkish government and MIT has? I guess it is meanness to discuss who is right who is wrong at this point. We haven't see the data, I hope they will share them with us.
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