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Turkey confirms detention of man who claims responsibility for killing Russian Su-24 pilot

April 01, 14:14 UTC+3 ANKARA
Turkish media reported on Thursday that Alparslan Celik was detained at a restaurant in Izmir together with 13 more suspects
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© AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, archive

ANKARA, April 1. /TASS/. Alparslan Celik who had previously confessed to the murder of Oleg Peshkov, the pilot of the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber downed by Turkey last November, has been detained and is in custody of the security department of the Turkish city of Izmir, a source in Izmir’s law enforcement agencies told TASS on Friday.

"This person has been detained indeed. We cannot disclose the details of the reasons and circumstances of this (detention)," the source said. The city police said that "only the relatives and friends of the detainee can get more detailed data while the investigation is in progress."

Turkish media reported on Thursday that Celik was detained at a restaurant in Izmir together with 13 more suspects. These people have allegedly recently arrived from Syria where they fought in the Bayirbucak region on the side of Islamists. The detention was made after somebody reported to the police that these people gathered at the restaurant. The policemen seized from them an assault rifle and two pistols with cartridges.

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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