Turkey Mourns 2 Pilots Downed by Syria

Posted July 6th, 2012 at 7:25 am (UTC-5)
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The bodies of two Turkish airmen whose jet was shot down last month by Syria have been recovered and are being buried Friday at a military funeral.

The bodies of the pilots were pulled Thursday from the seabed 14 kilometers off the Syrian coast. They were located with the help of U.S. ocean explorer Robert Ballard, who is famous for discovering the wreck of the Titanic.

Syrian forces shot down the RF-4 plane on June 22, raising already heightened tensions between the two neighbors. Syria says the plane was flying in its airspace, while Turkey insists it was in international waters.

The bodies of Captain Gokhan Ertan and Lt. Hasan Huseyin Aksoy are to be buried Friday at a nationally televised funeral attended by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Their remains were located Wednesday after Ballard and his deep-sea exploration vehicle, the Nautilus, helped find the wreckage.