Turkey: Problem not with Russia but Syria

Turkey: Problem not with Russia but Syria

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey: Problem not with Russia but Syria

A Syrian passenger plane is seen after it was forced to land at Ankara airport on October 10, 2012. AFP Photo

Turkey has said it has no problem with Russia after grounding a Syrian plane en route from Moscow to Damascus last week, saying it was instead upset with Syria for violating international civilian aviation regulations. The remarks came in swift response to Moscow’s statement earlier today that Turkey accepted that the cargo it seized did not consist of illegal weapons but was legitimate.

“What we say from the very beginning is that Syrians attempted to transport the cargo in an illegal way. This problem is not with Russia but with Syria,” a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News earlier today.

The official also said the plane was forced to land after it was notified before it entered into Turkish airspace.

Turkey’s reaction came after the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed that Turkey acknowledged the legitimacy of the confiscated cargo.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said the confiscated cargo included military equipment and radar components for a missile defense system which could not be transported on a civilian flight.   

Turkey acknowledges cargo on Syrian plane was legitimate: Russian Foreign Ministry

Turkish government has recognized that cargo that was seized from a Syrian passenger plane forced to land in Ankara on Oct. 10 was legitimate, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated today.

“Turkey accepts the legitimacy of the confiscated cargo, but has complaints about the transportation notification procedure,” the ministry wrote on its official Twitter account.

“Witnesses on board the plane say force was used against the crew. Russia will insist on a thorough investigation,” the ministry also said.

Turkey reportedly expressed regret to the Russian ambassador for keeping Russians on the plane and preventing their meeting with diplomats, the official account said.