Downed Turkish Warplane 'May Have Crossed Border'
But Syria shouldn't have been surprised: President Gul
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2012 2:09 PM CDT
Updated Jun 23, 2012 2:35 PM CDT
In this April 29, 2010 file photo, a Turkish pilot salutes before take-off at an air base in Konya, Turkey.    (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – A Turkish fighter jet shot down by Syria may well have violated its airspace, Turkey's president admitted today. But he said that such high-altitude border crossings happen all the time. "It is routine for jet fighters to sometimes fly in and out over borders... when you consider their speed over the sea," said President Abdullah Gul. "These are not ill-intentioned things but happen beyond control due to the jets' speed."

Gul added that Turkey is investigating whether the F-4 Phantom was in Syrian airspace when it got shot down, the BBC reports. He also divulged that Syrian and Turkish officials have been in touch despite booting out each other's diplomats last year. Their relations have soured since the Syrian uprising started last year and some 30,000 Syrian refugees fled into Turkey. "We withdrew our envoy from Syria for security reasons," said Gul. "This does not mean that we have no contacts."