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Moscow concerned over Turkey's refusal to charge alleged murderer of Russian pilot

May 12, 2016, 16:42 UTC+3

The Russian Foreign Ministry gets the impression that the Turkish justice is purposefully and at its discretion trying to relieve of responsibility a person who has publicly confessed to a grave crime

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

MOSCOW, May 12. /TASS/. The refusal of the Turkish law enforcement agencies to open a criminal case against Alparslan Celik who publicly confessed to the murder of Russia’s pilot in Syria raises questions concerning the motives for such decision, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"By the materials of the Turkish press, including social media, we have traced the information about the resolution of the prosecutor’s office of the city of Izmir to refuse to initiate criminal proceedings against Celik - the murderer of the Russian pilot on November 24, 2015," she said. "This decision is motivated allegedly by evidentiary insufficiency, as well as by the fact that Celik’s accomplices from among Turkish citizens have not been apprehended."

"This position of Turkey’s law enforcement agencies cannot but cause serious concern and raises many questions," Zakharova said. "It gives the impression that the Turkish justice is purposefully and at its discretion trying to relieve of responsibility a person who has publicly confessed to a grave crime."

According to Zakharova, there is no clarity and transparency at all in the situation around Celik. "Ankara has actually admitted that it is unwilling to take upon itself part of the blame for what has happened regarding the fact that it is its mean and treacherous actions that led to the (Russian) plane downing and thus resulted in the death of Russia’s pilot," she added.

Zakharova urged the Turkish authorities to take exhaustive measures to track down and bring to responsibility all those responsible for the Russian pilot’s death. "I’m referring not only to Celik, but also to all other militants who took part in that massacre and who were directly subordinated to him. We cannot understand why the situation that is in the legal field is so non-transparent, so tangled and why there have been so many canards over this issue," she said.

Police arrested ultranationalist Alparslan Celik and another 14 suspects at an Izmir restaurant on March 30. The policemen took away several unregistered tommy-guns, a rifle and pistols from the suspects some of whom had recently returned from Syria where they had fought on the side of the militants. The local media distributed Celik’s confession in which he said it was he who killed Oleg Peshkov, the pilot of the downed Su-24 plane. However, the Turk changed his evidence when in custody. He said he was not personally involved in shooting at the Russian pilot and had never issued such orders.

A Turkish Air Force plane shot down a Su-24 Russian bomber on November 24 last year. The Ankara government claims that the plane violated the Turkish airspace. The Russian Defense Ministry says, in turn, that the Su-24 was in the sky over Syria. The crew ejected but one of the pilots, Oleg Peshkov, was killed by fire from the ground while he was descending on his parachute. The second pilot was saved and taken to a military base.

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