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No: 173, 24 June 2012, Press Release Regarding the Steps Taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey in Respect of the Shooting Down of a Turkish Military Aircraft Off the Coast of Syria

Following the shooting of an unarmed RF-4 Turkish aircraft, which was on a test and training mission, by Syria in international airspace 13 miles off the coast of Latakia on June 22, 2012 at 11:58 am and its consequent downing into the territorial waters of Syria, a diplomatic note was submitted yesterday (June 23) to the Syrian Consulate General in Istanbul in which the latter was notified that the shooting of the aircraft without any warning is by no means acceptable and that the responsibility of this attack falls completely on the Syrian side.

The diplomatic note further stressed that this aggressive act, which runs against all the principles of good faith and good neighborliness, is a flagrant and grave violation of international law and that the Government of Turkey reserves all its rights emanating from international law to take counter measures and steps with regard to its pilots and aircraft that are still missing in action, at a time and basis of its own choosing.

Since yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Ahmet Davutoğlu has been on the phone with his counterparts from the leading countries and organizations of the international community to share information as well as our assessments about the incident.

Furthermore, a series of briefings have been held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today to inform the foreign Ambassadors and Military Attachés resident in Ankara about the incident and to share our evaluations thereon.
The Turkish Permanent Delegation in NATO has initiated the process to convene the North Atlantic Council next week under Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty, in order to inform the allies about the incident.

With a view to registering Turkey’s views and reactions with the UN, simultaneous letters are being sent to the Secretary General and to the President of the Security Council.

In response to this aggressive act against an unarmed Turkish aircraft flying over international waters, Turkey will act in a way that it reserves all its rights stemming from international law and will decisively take the necessary counter measures.