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QA: 17, 11 October 2012, Statement of the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey in Response to a Question

Upon a warning received by the Turkish authorities on 10th of October regarding the transportation of military equipment by a commercial civilian aircraft belonging to Syrian Airways en route to Damascus from Moscow, the landing of the aforementioned aircraft at Ankara Esenboğa Airport in order to carry out the required inspections was decided. This situation was transmitted to the aircraft while en route above the Black Sea giving the pilot an opportunity to return back, however since the pilot opted not to return the landing took place at 17:15 PM, local time.

Following the landing of the aircraft, necessary measures were taken in order to ensure the security and meet the possible needs of all its passengers. The passengers were informed that they could leave the aircraft, if they wanted to do so, and be transferred to the lounge, where they would be hosted by us; nevertheless only a few of the passengers left the aircraft, while the majority of them preferred to wait inside it. Additionally, in order to respond immediately to possible health issues, a medical team and an ambulance were kept ready, when information was received that one of the passengers was ill, a doctor was dispatched to the aircraft; however, it was replied that there was no need for a doctor. Therefore, the concerns raised that the lives and safety of the passengers were jeopardized are baseless.

The pilot of the aircraft did not provide any information regarding the list and nationality of the passengers. Information concerning Russian citizens onboard the aircraft was learnt through the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Ankara shortly before the plane departed from Ankara. Following the notification given by the Embassy about the Russian passengers, officials of the Embassy have been kept informed about the Russian passengers on board the aircraft on a regular basis through coordination among the relevant departments of our Ministry. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has also been informed about the matter by our Embassy in Moscow this morning.