SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

October 12, 2012

Turkey: Syrian plane was carrying ammunition

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A plane intercepted by Turkish fighter jets on its way from Moscow to Damascus was carrying equipment and ammunition destined for the Syrian Defense Ministry, Turkey’s prime minister said yesterday.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments follow a fierce denial by Syria that anything illegal had been aboard the Airbus A320 that was forced by Turkey to land in Ankara late Wednesday. Syria, whose relations with neighboring Turkey have plummeted over the Syrian war, branded it an act of piracy.

Earlier in the day, Turkish officials had rejected claims by Syria’s ally, Russia, that Turkey had endangered the lives of Russian citizens on board the aircraft.

“These were equipment and ammunitions that were being sent from a Russian agency ... to the Syrian Defense Ministry,” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara.

“Their examination is continuing and the necessary (action) will follow,” he added.

Yeni Safak, a newspaper close to the Turkish government, reported yesterday that there were 10 containers aboard the plane, whose contents included radio receivers, antennas and equipment “thought to be missile parts.”

Turkish state-run television TRT also reported the plane was carrying military communications equipment. Neither TRT nor the newspaper cited sources for their claims.

A Western diplomat in Ankara told The Associated Press that Turkish authorities had found “military equipment” on board the plane, but did not elaborate. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about sensitive issues.

The plane was allowed to continue to Damascus after several hours, without the cargo.

“As you know, defense industry equipment or weapons, ammunitions and such equipment cannot be carried on passenger planes,” Erdogan said. “It is against international rules for such things to pass through our air space.”

Erdogan refused to say how — or from whom — Turkey had learned that the twice-weekly scheduled flight would be used to transport military gear to Syria.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Salem extends principal search SALEM -- Superintendent Stephen Russell has extended the search for three new principals, arguably the most important personnel decisions he will make in his three years as head of the public schools. Russell is about to hire principals to guide turn

    April 24, 2014

  • 140423_SN_KYU_CROSSWALK A safer place to cross

    PEABODY -- A little more than a year after tragedy struck, the new pedestrian traffic signal in front of St. Adelaide's Parish is installed and operational. "My dad worked his whole life in the service of his community, church and country, and it giv

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • MBTA proposes commuter-rail fee increase SALEM -- The train to Boston is about to get more expensive. Across-the-board fare increases recently proposed by the MBTA would raise the price of single trips on the commuter rail by 25 to 50 cents and the cost of monthly passes from between $10 fo

    April 24, 2014

  • Unrepentant serial drunken driver gets 31/2 to 5 years PEABODY -- Despite what a judge and prosecutor called an attempt to "hijack" the proceedings in his case, a serial drunken driver from Peabody was sentenced to state prison yesterday. Right up to the end, Peter Hurley, 53, was adamant that he'd done

    April 24, 2014

  • pipes1 Sewerage repair delay sparks worry MARBLEHEAD -- Serious concerns are building over delays in the repair of a sewer pipe connecting Marblehead to the South Essex Sewerage District in Salem. The need for replacing the two pipes became apparent in March 2013, when one began to leak int

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos