Search continues for wreckage of Turkish Phantom shot down by Syria
Turkish and Syrian navy vessels are searching for the pilots and wreckage of a Turkish F-4 aircraft which was shot down by Syrian forces yesterday.
Earlier today Turkey’s president, Abdullah Gul, confirmed the Turkish fighter jet could have violated Syrian airspace saying it was routine for warplanes flying at high speed to cross borders for short distances.
Yesterday Syria admitted it engaged the aircraft in its airspace "according to the laws that govern such situations", and that it crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.
There was speculation on many internet forums that the incursion into Syria’s airspace was a deliberate attempt by the Turks to seek a response that would allow NATO to enter the country which is in a state of virtual civil war.
This was denied by Turkey. President Gul said “These are not ill-intentioned things but happen beyond control due to the jets' speed”
State news agency, Anatolia quoted the president in this morning’s press conference as saying "It is not possible to cover over a thing like this, whatever is necessary will be done. "It is routine for jet fighters to sometimes fly in and out over national borders... when you consider their speed over the sea,"
The Phantom jet had taken off from Erbac airbase in Malataya at 10:00 local time yesterday and had been flying for almost 90 minutes when Turkish military controllers lost radio contact somewhere over the Hatay province. The investigation continues.