Russia and Syria have condemned Turkey for forcing a civilian Syrian plane travelling from Moscow to Damascus to land in the Turkish capital last night on suspicions it was carrying military equipment.
Today Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the grounded Syrian plane was carrying Russian-made “military equipment and ammunition” destined for the Syrian defence ministry, Reuters reports. Erdogan then said Turkey was still examining the equipment and that “the necessary will follow,” according to the Associated Press.
“Now the situation has changed. This is linked to the fact that Turkey has become too deeply involved in Syrian domestic affairs,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said in a statement reported by The New York Times. “I think tension will now develop in the relationship between Russia and Turkey.”
Turkey scrambled two F-16s to intercept the Syrian Air jetliner and force it to land in Ankara.
Turkish media reported that authorities confiscated radio receivers, jammers, antennas and “equipment that are thought to be missile parts,” according to The AP.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that the plane was not carrying any kind of weapons or prohibited goods and all contents on the plane were listed on the plane’s manifest, Reuters reports.
Syrian Transport Minister Mahmoud Said was quoted by Lebanese media as saying the move amounted to “air piracy which contradicts civil aviation treaties.”
An official at the Russian Embassy in Ankara said the cargo “was not of Russian origin,” and a Russian arms exporter told Reuters that if they needed “to send any kind of military-technical equipment or arms it would have been carried out properly and not through any illegal means.”
Moscow then accused Turkey of endangering the lives of Russian passengers and Syria added that the passengers were in a “very bad psychological state,” according to The Guardian.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu countered that the cargo was “illegal” and “objectionable” and “should have been reported,” BBC reports.
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