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Turkey Ready To Respond To Syria's Downing Of Air Force Jet

Turkish President Gul breaks government silence after downing of air force jet by Syria.

A Turkish F-4 (Peng Chen)
A Turkish F-4 (Peng Chen)

ANKARA – Turkey's President Abdullah Gul vowed Saturday to respond with "whatever is necessary" to Syria's reported shooting down of a Turkish warplane

Speaking to reporters after nearly a full day of official silence by Ankara, Gul said Turkey had confirmed that the plane was indeed brought down by Syria, as widely reported on Friday. He explained that Turkish officials had initially received conflicting reports about the incident.

Gul conceded that the Turkish F-4 Phantom may have violated Syrian airspace, but that could in no way justify shooting it down.

"It is not possible to cover over a thing like this, whatever is necessary will be done," Gul said. "It is routine for jet fighters to sometimes fly in and out of air space over national borders... when you consider their speed over the sea,"

Investigations are underway to determine whether the plane was hit over Turkish airspace, and Ankara has been in contact with Damascus despite the countries calling home their respective ambassadors earlier this year as tensions grew over Syria's repression of opponents of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

"We withdrew our envoy from Syria for security reasons. This does not mean that we have no contacts," Gul said.

The two Turkish pilots on board the F-4 have disappeared over the Mediterranean, southwest of the Hatay province. Syria and Turkey are carrying out a joint-rescue effort, with gunboats in search of the missing pilots.

The plane, which had taken off from the Erhac airbase in Malaya, crashed around noon, according to Turkish Military Officials.

One witness reported that the plane crashed on Syrian territory after being shot down, and the pilots were being held captive. But there was no conformation of this account.

Read the original article in full in Turkish

Photo - Peng Chen

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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