Commenting on Saturday’s downing of a Syrian helicopter, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said any action, either from land or air, violating Turkey’s borders would be retaliated and those responsible would “certainly be punished.”
F-16 jets belonging to Turkey’s Air Force shot down a Syrian aircraft on Saturday which reportedly breached the Turkish border. The remains of the under question aircraft fell on the Syrian side of the border after being shot, Turkish media reported.
Minister of Defence Ismet Yilmaz confirmed later on Saturday that the aircraft was a helicopter, however, Syrian reports deny that it was helicopter and claim it was a drone.
Davutoglu noted striking down the Syrian helicopter was critical for displaying Turkey’s determination within the scope engagement rules, and commented, “the authority given to Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) is clear. Any action violating Turkey’s borders certainly would be retaliated. I am hoping the message is taken and no one dares to violate our borders again.”
Asked about if any reaction was received from the Syrian side upon the incident, Davutoglu responded there has not been any reaction yet.
“What kind of reaction could they respond with anyways considering the wrongfulness of their action? Determination on the current engagement rules were implemented after Syria previously shoot down our jet. The orders on Turkish pilots are very clear and I have congratulated our pilots on their firm response, power and determination,” the prime minister added.
In June 2012, A Turkish RF-4E Phantom jet belonging to the TAF was downed by Syrian regime forces without any warning despite the fact that it was unarmed and was on exploration duty citing border breaches, killing the two Turkish pilots inside whose remains were later found on July 5 in the Mediterranean Sea.