Plane Downed in International Airspace, Insists Turkey
Turkey's military insisted Sunday that a jet fighter shot down by Syrian forces on June 22 was in international airspace, and not inside Syria, as claimed in a newspaper report citing U.S. intelligence.
The Turkish F-4 Phantom "was downed over the eastern Mediterranean in international airspace ... while it was flying solo and unarmed, and testing our existing radars' performance in the region," the army's general staff said in a statement posted on its website.
The statement followed a report in the Wall Street Journal citing U.S. intelligence that claimed the plane was "most likely hit by shore-based anti-aircraft guns while it was inside Syrian airspace."
The Turkish army statement said the jet had violated Syrian airspace for "about five minutes."
The two-man crew are still missing, the army said, adding that the U.S. exploration ship, the Nautilus, was expected in the area Monday to assist in search and wreckage recovery efforts.