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ANKARA, March 31. /TASS/. Police in Turkey’s Izmir have detained Alparslan Çelik, who took responsibility for the murder of the pilot of the Russian Su-24 fighter downed in Syria by the Turkish air force in November, Dogan news agency reported on Thursday.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow is checking this information.
"We are now going to study this information. As soon as we get concrete data we’ll comment on them," Zakharova told TASS when asked to explain how the detention would affect Russian-Turkish relations.
The position of Moscow regarding Turkey remains unchanged — the Turkish people is not an enemy, but there may be no justifications to Turkey’s attack on a Russian aircraft and statements that followed, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman went on to say.
Zakharova’s statement came as a comment on media claims that Moscow is allegedly softening its position.
"The crisis is of a temporary nature, I believe that our nations will get through it," she said. "But there may be no reconciliation with what has been done, and no justification to what keeps being said. Turkish officials had better not rebuild the words of Russian politicians to make out of them proposals they need."
"We have said many times — we do not consider the Turkish people and Turkey as enemies. We are neighbors, we are close peoples," Zakharova said. "Our two countries have an extensive and rich history. People deserve overcoming the crisis for bilateral relations."
The Turkish Air Force’s F-16 fighter on November 24, 2015 shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber, involved in Russia's antiterrorism operation in Syria, that Ankara claimed violated the country’s airspace on the border with Syria.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said the Su-24M was above Syrian territory and "there was no violation of Turkey’s airspace."
Pilot Oleg Peshkov was killed by militants from the ground after ejecting, the second pilot was rescued and taken to the Russian base.
The incident resulted in the severing of nearly all trade and economic ties between the two countries. Ankara refused to apologize for the downed jet and death of the pilot. Moscow put the blame for the incident on the Turkish authorities.
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.
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.