The June 22 downing of a Turkish warplane which had just violated Syrian airspace set off a war of words and escalations which has both sides pouring tanks to their mutual border and had Turkish officials pressing NATO for a formal declaration that the loss of the plane amounted to an attack by Syria on the alliance in general.
But the bizarre narratives that have emerged since then have made little sense, and now the Turkish military is throwing the whole story into doubt by saying that they have zero evidence that the plane ever got hit by a missile in the first place.
The military concession comes in two parts, the first that the plane’s warning systems, which were meant to detect incoming missiles, never detected anything, and the second that land-based radar saw no missiles when the jet was downed.
Turkish political officials, which had spent the past month railing against Syria, tried to downplay the seriousness of the issue, pointing out that Syria had admitted to hitting it with a missile. This presents as much a problem for their narrative as anyone, however, as Turkey still hasn’t managed to recover the bulk of the plane, and the military is now saying that its entirely possible the plane just crashed on its own.