Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan apparently mistook a Syrian military jet for the Twitter Bird and allowed his country’s armed forces to shoot it down.
Arguing that the Syrian military jet/possible Twitter Bird sighting violated Turkey’s airspace, Turkish fighter jets took down the Syrian aircraft on Sunday in a move that definitely won’t ease any tensions between two countries already in disagreement over Syria’s civil war and their opinions of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
The jet takedown happened in an area where the Syrian government has been at war with rebel groups over control of a border crossing. The plane was hit by a missile from one of two Turkish F-16s flying an air patrol in the area while the Syrian military jet was pursuing gunmen near the border. Luckily the pilot safely ejected himself from the aircraft, and parachuted down to safety/a war zone.
A spokesman for Syria’s military confirmed the incident, denouncing it as a “blatant aggression,” but Erdogan told Syria “our response will be heavy if you violate our airspace.” Tough love.
Turkey denies any wrongdoing, saying the Syrian MiG-23 entered Turkey’s airspace after ignoring four warnings to turn back. And this isn’t the first time that the Turkish military has shot down a Syrian aircraft near the border. They took down a Syrian military helicopter back in September. Although to be fair, Syria shot down a Turkish military plane in 2012 – so they kind of had it coming.