Turkish Army denies WSJ report on jet downed by Syria
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
DHA file photoTurkey’s military has denied a Wall Street Journal report that claimed a Turkish jet was shot down in Syrian airspace, arguing instead that the incident occurred over international waters while posting a map to corroborate its position.
“According to the results of an administrative probe and radar tracks, our jet was shot down 13 nautical miles off of Syria, one nautical mile outside Syria’s 12-nautical mile territorial waters, and crashed 16 kilometers (8.5 nautical miles) off the Syrian coastline after losing altitude and speed,” the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said in a written statement it posted on its website yesterday.
The army said it felt the need to clarify the incident following the WSJ report that said Turkey’s explanations about the incident raised question marks. An anonymous American official has said the incident occurred close to the Syrian coast and that there was no indication that the jet was downed by a laser-guided missile, as would be necessary if it were hit in international airspace.
Despite the army’s claims that the shooting took place outside of Syrian airspace, the military did not challenge claims that it may have been shot down by an anti-aircraft weapon.
The statement repeated that the jet was unarmed and flying solo as it tested Turkey’s radar capabilities – indirectly responding to the WSJ’s report that it was testing Syria’s radar reactions.
Foreign Ministry officials echoed the military’s statement, adding that they were not in a position to make comments about press reports. “We have not been notified by American officials on these points raised by this newspaper,” an official said.
The army also said there had been no progress in locating the plane’s two missing pilots but said the U.S. vessel Nautilus was expected to reach the region late today to locate the wreckage of the Turkish aircraft.
The plane was shot down on June 22, touching off a new row between Damascus and Ankara over the circumstances surrounding the incident.