Senior commanders allegedly turned a blind eye to the incident despite warnings from subordinate officers, an audio recording shows.
New details have emerged over the alleged negligence of military officers who observed an Israeli Heron unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) circling over the 14th Hawk B. Brigade Command in Hatay’s Kırıkhan district for four hours in January.
Senior commanders allegedly turned a blind eye to the incident despite warnings from subordinate officers, an audio recording shows. The recording in which military commanders discuss the incident was released on the entertainment website Dailymotion on Monday.
In January, the Taraf daily reported that an Israeli UAV was seen flying over the brigade command post in order to capture pictures of missile batteries and radar equipment.
According to the daily’s report, the Israeli drone was first noticed by a lieutenant, who saw a white light flashing in the sky. He asked an air forces senior sergeant to verify what he had seen. The sergeant confirmed that a drone was hovering over the command post.
Radar followed the Israeli drone as military officials in the brigade command post waited for the order to shoot it down. Higher ranking officers at Diyarbakır Air Base had not replied to the radar center’s call by the time the drone moved out of range.
According to the leaked recording, Col. Ahmet Kazdal from Diyarbakır Air Base and Second Air Fleet Commander Gen. Veysi Ağar are heard dismissing the intelligence about the Heron from the brigade post in Hatay.
Col. Kazdal called Gen. Ağar and informed him about the object seen on the radar by subordinate officers, who had suggested the object was an aerial vehicle. After having exchanged views over how to proceed, Gen. Ağar ordered military officers to switch off the radar that had identified the Heron. Then a Hawk surface-to-air missile system was shut down on the general’s orders.