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Syrian downing of Turkish plane: a hostile act? (+video)

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The plane went down in the Mediterranean Sea near Syria, and its two Turkish pilots remain missing.

"What is important now is that Turkey and Syria are working together to find the pilots," Makdissi said.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul and other officials said Saturday that their government is trying to assess the exact circumstances of the incident and would take unspecified retaliatory steps accordingly. Gul conceded that Turkish aircraft may have unintentionally violated Syrian airspace.

It was not clear if Turkey was contemplating military retaliation, increased sanctions, or other possible steps, including demands for compensation or an apology. But Faruk Celik, the Turkish Labor and Social Security Minister, said his nation would retaliate "either in the diplomatic field or give other types of response."

"Even if we assume that there was a violation of Syria's airspace — though the situation is still not clear — the Syrian response cannot be to bring down the plane," Celik told reporters. "The incident is unacceptable. Turkey cannot endure it in silence."

Turkey has joined nations such as the United States in saying that Syrian President Bashar Assad should step down because of the uprising in his country that has killed thousands of people. Turkey also has set up refugee camps on its border for more than 32,000 Syrians who have fled the fighting.

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