ANKARA, October 11 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Ambassador to Turkey Vladimir Ivanovsky on Thursday held a meeting at the republic’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the incident with the detention of a Syrian aircraft in Ankara. The Turkish Foreign Ministry confirmed the fact of the ambassador’s arrival, but declined to give any details of his visit.
The Airbus A-320 airliner took off from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport to Damascus at 15:26, Wednesday. After it entered the Turkish airspace the F-16 fighters of the Turkish Air Force intercepted the airliner and forced it to land at the Turkish capital’s airport. The Airbus had 37 people, including crewmembers and 17 Russians with children, on board. After a nine-hour detention the plane continued its flight to Damascus. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in connection with the incident that “Turkey’s actions have put at risk the lives of Russians that were on board the plane” of Syrian Airlines, and Moscow demanded explanations. Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that “the Turkish authorities without explaining the reason and in violation of the bilateral Consular Convention did not allow the diplomats to meet with the Russian citizens.”
Earlier, Syrian Transport Minister Mahmoud Said described the behaviour of the Turkish authorities as an act of “air piracy.” He stressed that the forced landing of a civilian plane by fighters of the Turkish Air Force is a “flagrant violation of international air navigation.”
Meanwhile, according to local media reports, Deputy Chairman of the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party Omer Celik said that the cargo seized from the Syrian plane that was performing a flight from Moscow “contains a variety of items, part of which are used in logistics, and part of them are different devices.” “They are being studied. The cargo’s return to Syria is out of the question,” he said.