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File photo of a Turkish pilot taking off from an air base in Konya, Turkey.. AP Photo/PA File

Turkey seeking NATO meeting after Syria shoots down military plane

Turkish minister says plane was shot down in international airspace 15 minutes after it had strayed briefly into Syrian territory.

Updated at 12.20pm

TURKEY IS CALLING for an extraordinary NATO meeting following Syria’s admission that it shot down one of its military planes on Friday, according to Turkish state television.

Syria said it shot down its former ally’s plane after it violated its airspace. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted to the confirmation by saying that the state would “determinedly take necessary steps” in response.

Today, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told state television that Turkey is seeking a NATO meeting over Article 4 of the NATO charter, which says that members “will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened”.

Earlier, Davutoglu said that the plane had briefly entered Syrian airspace and was shot down after it had returned to international airspace.

“According to our conclusions, our plane was shot down in international airspace, 13 nautical miles from Syria,” the minister told TRT television. ”The plane did not show any sign of hostility toward Syria and was shot down about 15 minutes after having momentarily violated Syrian airspace.”

The two pilots are still believed to be missing.

The incident has seen a serious escalation in tensions between the neighbouring states. Former allies, Turkey was among the first governments to call on Syria’s President Assad to take stronger steps towards political reform in the early days of anti-Assad protests. The two states have expelled each other’s ambassadors. Two refugees were killed in cross-border firing by Syrian security forces in Turkey in April.

- Additional reporting by the AP and AFP

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