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Friday, October 12, 2012

Turkey claims Russian arms on Syrian civilian jet

I've been meaning to report this all day (because it's been on Israel Radio all day), but I keep not getting to it.

You will recall that on Wednesday night, Turkish fighter jets forced a Syrian Airlines Airbus 320 on a flight from Moscow to Damascus, to land in Ankara. The Russians complained a lot, and the initial reports only said that there was equipment with potential military uses on board the plane.

I'm sure you all will be shocked to hear that Turkey claimed today that there were Russian arms on board the plane that were bound for the Assad regime in Damascus (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
“From Russia, an institution equivalent to our Machinery and Chemical Industry has sent military tools, equipment and ammunition to the Syrian Defense Ministry,” Mr. Erdogan was quoted as saying about the plane inspection. He was drawing a comparison to Turkey’s Machinery and Chemical Industry Institution, or MKEK, a leading provider of defense equipment to the Turkish military.
“Upon the intelligence received, research there was conducted and it was unfortunately seen that there was such equipment inside,” Mr. Erdogan said.
He did not further specify what precisely had been found.
Mr. Erdogan also said that an upcoming visit to Turkey by Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, had been postponed. He said the postponement had no connection with the forced grounding of the plane. 


Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that the plane had been detained on suspicion of harboring weapons and said a number of unspecified cargo items “that infringed on international regulations” had been confiscated. But Mr. Erdogan’s statement was the most detailed yet about what the Turks claimed to have found. 

I'm sure glad I don't have to fly to countries like that. Flying ammunition on a passenger jet is pretty serious stuff.

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