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Syria's foreign ministry demanded  that Turkey return cargo seized from a Syrian Air jet after it was intercepted and forced to land in Ankara.
 
"The Syrian government calls on the Turkish authorities for a complete and proper restitution of the contents of the plane," the ministry said in a statement.

Syrian plane leaves Ankara after being grounded

A Syrian passenger plane took off from the Turkish capital Ankara earlier today after being grounded for several hours by Turkish authorities on suspicion that it was carrying military equipment destined for Syria.

"A Syrian Air passenger plane flying in Turkish airspace has landed in Ankara accompanied by military jets," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The search on the plane’s cargo revealed no arms or munitions, but some parcels carried by the plane held communications devices used for military purposes, said the report, without giving any further detail.

The plane was escorted by two Turkish F-16 jets to Ankara's Esenboğa Airport for security checks on its cargo by Turkish officals. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said there was solid intelligence suggesting that the plane carried illegal cargo in violation of the international civilian aviation rules.

Turkey had already declared that it would not allow any military plane or cargo plane carrying arms to Syria to use Turkish airspace, Davutoğlu said.


The A-320 plane, traveling from Moscow to Damascus when it was intercepted by Turkish authorities at around 6:30 p.m., was carrying 37 people including the staff, daily Hürriyet reported on its website.

There were 12 big parcels on the plane that held military communication devices, the report said. 

The Foreign Ministry has warned Turkish planes not to use Syrian airspace because "it is no longer safe." A Turkish Airlines plane carrying Turkish pilgrims from the northwestern city of Bursa to the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah made an emergency landing in the southern province of Adana, Hürriyet reported, adding that the plane took off again at around 8 p.m. and would not use Syrian airspace.

Tensions between Turkey and Syria have been running high, with sporadic exchanges of fire at the border since Oct. 8.

Last week, a Syrian shell hit the border town of Akçakale, killing five civilians -- two women and three children.

The deadly incident triggered retaliatory fire from Turkish artillery units at the border, which has been increasingly fortified by scores of anti-aircraft batteries and Howitzers since the shelling.

It also resulted in the passage of a parliamentary mandate which allows the government to authorize cross-border operations in Syria "if needed" for the next year.

The Turkish army also warned earlier Oct. 10 of a stronger response if Syrian shells continued to land on Turkish soil.

Ties between Ankara and Damascus have been dramatically strained since June, when a Turkish jet was brought down by Syrian fire, killing its two pilots.

October/10/2012

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Turk Uzan

10/11/2012 10:17:00 PM

@ Stefano's, so what. Anatolia is Turkish has been Turkish for the past 1000 years, does the fact that the origin of the word is Greek make it less Turkish, haha .. ? It's funny that you'd make such a hypocritical statement when you culture is mostly Turkish in origin. @ everyone, I cannot believe these ignorant comments, have you people been dropped on the head while you were kids? Hahaha sad and hypocritical Assad apologist, your voices is load but numbers are small.

ilker avni

10/11/2012 9:45:17 PM

@Stefanos Kalogirou Greek name Asia Minor maybe not Turkish but the boys flying those planes are my frend.Do you know what your names is in English stands for? a wealth fare benifit payment..We call them Giro.@ Sam steel Turkey doesnt finance Turkey gives them FREE.Syrian currency finished just like Assad Syrian currency is history.Turkey gives free and electricity and water. @Blue dotted next you will be saying Turkey planted the amo in the plane.Your going down in my estimation.

ilker avni

10/11/2012 9:07:57 PM

@Sam Steel You sound like Mr Chamberlin with his piece of paper with Herr Hitlers signature on it.If you want peace then prepare for war.Ataturk said "Unless the life if the nation is in peril,war is a crime"The life of the nation is in peril. by Syria,Iran,Iraq.Chemical weapons have been moved,Iran and North Korea are training Assad forces on how to deliver them by bombs and tank shells.Iran has admitted supplying weapons and men,Hezbollah fighters are fighting alongside Assad forces.

Blue Dotterel

10/11/2012 8:35:19 PM

But didn't Tayyip just say there were munitions on the plane. He wouldn't lie or anything, would he? I thought I read it in the HDN.

ilker avni

10/11/2012 8:07:22 PM

Turkey does not even allow Amereica to fly nuclear bombs over Turkey.But the Airline broke a big rule in IATA and has endangered passengers lives.No Hazardous good allowed on passenger flights,only on freighters,Only thirty odd passengers,means the flight can take more cargo.Syria and Iran have broken many rules,Irans sends its troops as passengers they general as admitted doing so.North Korean and Iranian advisers in Syria training the army on how to deliver the chemical weapons via tank shells

Sam Steel

10/11/2012 4:39:42 PM

@Murat: You are right, the days of Turkey being a passive observer are long gone. Now it is a power house for American and European interests. Way to go, on a successful foreign policy.

Murat

10/11/2012 3:58:57 PM

There was a time when Russian heavy transports would go over Turkey at will, fueling Middle Est wars, supplying their puppets. All Turks could do was watch them over radar. Those days are long past. Russia can not play just by its rules, neither can USA or anyone else. Given our position over civil war in Syria, Turkey did the right thing, the right way. I have no idea what all these arm chair generals are complaining about.

Eric E.

10/11/2012 3:42:24 PM

Turkish Foreign Policy is dying our of shame every day with every possible way.

US Observer

10/11/2012 2:16:21 PM

I doubt the Turks downed the plane for no reason. Most likely the plane had missiles and Turkey had every right to not let those weapons in Syria, especially since Syria decided to ignore Turkey's sovereignty.

Stefanos Kalogirou

10/11/2012 1:59:28 PM

@ilker Anatolia is a greek name of Asia Minor, so it's a geographical term and it does not mean turkish. @Sam Steel spot on! @NikosT spot on! Turkey knows that again acted against international law and forced the passengers to sign fake statements. This incident was a fiasco. I doubt that Putin will visit Turkey.
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