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ANKARA, October 11 (Itar-Tass) – Syrian Airlines’ A320 jet, which the Turkish Air Force coerced to land in Ankara Wednesday afternoon “for inspection” was carrying a cargo consigned by a Russian company for the Syrian Defense Ministry, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday night.
He claimed that both the consignor and the consignee of the cargo had been identified upon the scrutiny of appropriate documents.
Erdogan said the cargo had been shipped by a manufacturer working in the same field as Turkey’s Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation /MKEK/, which manufactures weaponry.
In the meantime, a senior diplomat at the Russian embassy in Ankara told Itar-Tass the diplomatic mission is trying to get clarity on the circumstances, in which the Turkish authorities confiscated cargo from aboard the Syrian jet, and who the cargo belonged to.
“The Russian identity of the cargo is not confirmed or discussed at the moment,” said Yelena Kara-Sal, the chief of the embassy’s Consulate Department.
Russian diplomats visited Ankara’s Esenboga international airport, since there were seventeen Russian citizens with children aboard the A320.
The airliner was kept in the airport for nine hours and the Turks confiscated nine containers from its luggage bays.
Turkey’s Transport Minister Binali Yildirim claimed on Thursday that the cargo was not suitable for a civilian jet. He also said the Turkish authorities had used the rights provided by international legislation in the field of civil aviation.
Yildirim said the jets of commercial airlines cannot transport defense cargoes meant for combat operations. To effectuate any transportation of these cargoes via the Turkish airspace, permission from the Turkish government should be secured ten days before the flight.
Proceeding from this requirement, the jet was coerced to landing, the minister said, stressing Turkey’s preparedness for such actions in the future should they be needed.