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Bodies of Turkish jet crew, shot down by Syria, found in Mediterranean sea

The bodies of the two pilots on a Turkish jet shot down by Syria have been recovered, but the wreckage of the F-4 Phantom jet has not yet been located.

Turkey president abdullah gul 23 06 2012Enlarge
Turkish President Abdullah Gul has said "whatever is necessary will no doubt be done," after Syria shot down one of Turkey's military jets. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The bodies of two pilots aboard a Turkish jet shot down by Syria last month have been recovered.

Turkey's army said today the bodies were found at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean sea, Agence France-Presse reported.

"The bodies [of the two pilots] have been recovered in seabed and work is underway to bring them to surface," the Turkish army command said in a statement, according to AFP.

The wreckage of the F-4 Phantom jet, shot down over the Mediterranean on June 22, has not yet been located, the statement added.

The bodies were found by a US deep-sea exploration vessel, according to the Associated Press.

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Reuters said the Turkish military named the dead crew members as Air Force Captain Gokhan Ertan and Air Force Lieutenant Hasan Huseyin Aksoy.

Tensions between Ankara and Damascus have increased since the incident.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said he regretted that his country's defense forces shot down the jet, but he maintained that the plane was in Syrian airspace.

The Turkish government has said it was "unacceptable" for Syria to shoot down one of its military jets, and branded the incident an "act of aggression."

Turkey has been outspoken in condemning the Syrian government's response to the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. More than 30,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey during the 16-month uprising.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/turkey/120704/bodies-turkish-jet-crew-found-shot-down-syria