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Turkish warplane may have entered Syria

June 23, 2012 at 7:37 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, June 23 (UPI) -- A Turkish warplane shot down by Syria Friday may have been in Syrian airspace, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Saturday.

The plane, an F-4 Phantom fighter, was shot down by Syrian air defenses Friday morning, The Daily Telegraph reported.

In an interview Saturday, Gul acknowledged the military plane may have been in Syrian airspace when it was downed, but said there was no reason for Syria to see the airspace violation as hostile.

"It is routine for jet fighters to sometimes fly in and out over [national] borders ... when you consider their speed over the sea," Gul told the Anatolia news agency. "These are not ill-intentioned things but happen beyond control due to the jets' speed."

Meanwhile, Syria confirmed in a statement it took the plane down: "Our air defenses confronted a target that penetrated our airspace over our territorial waters pre-afternoon on Friday and shot it down. It turned out to be a Turkish military plane."

Syria is working with Turkey to locate the plane's two missing pilots, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"Turkey will take all necessary steps and will take its final position after the full [explanation] of the incident," said a statement issued by the Turkish government Friday.

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