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Damascus insists no hostile intentions towards Turkey

06-25-2012 00:15 BJT

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Tensions have escalated between Turkey and Syria after the latter shot down a Turkish warplane over the Mediterranean, without warning, on Friday. Syria has said what happened was a defensive and sovereign act, while Turkey plans to formally consult with NATO allies on a reaction.

Syria shot down a Turkish military plane that entered Syria's territorial airspace on Friday. Search teams have located the wreckage of the jet in Syrian waters at a depth of 1,300 metres.

Damascus insists it has no hostile intentions towards Turkey. But Turkish Foreign Minister told state broadcaster TRT the plane had been clearly marked as Turkish and that the flight had no connection to the political situation in Syria.

Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister, said, "The plane was unarmed. A jet which is sent on a risky mission wouldn’t fly unarmed. Jets fly unarmed only on training and testing missions. All sides are aware of that. Not necessarily because they’re advised to but because such flights are conducted openly. The identity of the jet could have been verified, in line with the rules of flight."

Davutoglu said rescue teams were still searching for the two missing pilots. He said the search operations were being carried out in coordination with Syrian efforts but could not be described as "joint".

The incident has spurred heated debate in Istanbul. Many believe the issue should be resolved through international channels rather than by military retaliation.

Ender Dindar, Istanbul resident, said, "A Turkish warplane was shot down but Turkey shouldn’t respond in anger, a military intervention in Syria would be a big challenge on its own."

The Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to meet leaders of opposition parties to discuss the latest developments. Many believe the incident will heighten hostility between the two former ally countries that differ over President Assad’s 16-month-old crackdown.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: CNTV.CN

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