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Moscow hopes to get testimony of suspect in murder of its pilot from Turkey

April 25, 2016, 12:52 UTC+3

A letter on behalf of Alparslan Celik calls for a dialogue with the Russian Federation officials

1 pages in this article
© Turkish Military via AP

MOSCOW, April 25. /TASS/. Moscow hopes that militant Alparslan Celik who has been detained in Turkey will give official testimony over the circumstances of the murder of the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber’s pilot in Syria last November and that Ankara will pass it to Russia, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told journalists on Monday.

She thus commented on a relative Internet message that is attributed to Celik.

"We have seen some reports in social media that are indirect and unofficial. Therefore, we cannot answer such messages," the diplomat said. "As for the ‘Celik case’, we are interested in the following: his clear and detailed final statements about complicity in the murder of the Russian pilot, on the chronology of the events, the participants and details of the incident, which would be based on evidence. This should be made both publicly [as he originally chose a public way of communication over his matter] and in accordance with Turkish law, by giving the relevant testimony that the Turkish side would officially pass to Russia", Zakharova said.

"His personal public statements and testimony to law enforcement agencies should be consistent for the sake of avoiding double interpretation, provocation and speculation", the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

Celik’s friend who was detained in Turkey on suspicion of the murder of the Russian Su-24 bomber’s pilot Oleg Peshkov, allegedly wrote on his behalf a letter to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. The message was posted in the Twitter microblog.

The letter on behalf of Celik calls for a dialogue with the Russian Federation officials. The message runs that the most important thing is dialogue, it’s absolutely not important how it starts, and Celik may even be the first to start, while the most important thing is to start.

Celik and another 14 people were detained at a restaurant in the Turkish city of Izmir on March 30. The police confiscated from them several unregistered assault rifles, a hunting rifle and pistols. Some of the detained have reportedly returned from Syria where they fought for Islamists.

In addition, Turkey’s TV channel HaberTurk reported previously that when the prosecutor asked Celik to comment on the video featuring armed people shooting at the parachuting Russian pilot, he said he warned people next to him not to shoot. However, Celik allegedly had said previously it was he who had shot at the Russian pilot when he was descending with a parachute after the ejection.

The Turkish Air Force downed a Sukhoi Su-24 bomber of Russia’s Aerospace Forces on November 24, 2015 by an air-to-air missile fired by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet when the Russian plane was at an altitude of 6,000 meters 1 kilometer from Turkey’s border. Later the Russian Defense Ministry specified that the Su-24 was downed when it was returning to the Khmeimim airbase in Syria.

"Objective control data analysis unambiguously showed that there was no violation of Turkey’s airspace," the ministry said. However, Turkey’s General Staff claimed that the Turkish fighter jet shot down a plane that violated the country’s airspace. A statement circulated by the Turkish military says the plane’s crew received 10 warnings for five minutes.

The crew managed to eject, but one of the two pilots of the bomber was killed by fire opened from the ground. The second pilot was rescued and evacuated to the base.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Turkish Air Force attack against the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 plane, which took part in Russia’s antiterrorism operation in Syria and did not present a threat to Turkey, "a stab in Russia’s back" delivered by terrorists’ accomplices.

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