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Turkish court arrests man who claimed responsibility for killing Russian Su-24 pilot

April 03, 22:43 updated at: April 04, 2:50 UTC+3 ANKARA
Alparslan Celik was arrested on charges of illegal possession of firearms
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© EPA/SEDAT SUNA, Archive

ANKARA, April 3. /TASS/. A court in Turkey’s Izmir has arrested Alparslan Celik, who earlier confessed to killing Russian Su-24 pilot Oleg Peshkov, Haberturk television channel said on Sunday.

Celik ans six more suspects were arrested on charges of illegal possession of firearms. They will be kept in custody until the investigation is over and the final measure of restraint is appointed. Six more people detained on the same charges were release but are still under investigation. Two of them were released under recognizance not to leave.

According to investigators, Celik was sentenced to 2.5 year in prison on currency counterfeiting and fraud charges in the past but have not served his prison sentence for an unknown reason.

Celik and another 14 people were detained at a restaurant in the Turkish city of Izmir on March 30. The police confiscated tommy-guns, several pistols, a hunting rifle and portable transmitters during raids on the suspects’ homes. Some of the detained have reportedly returned from Syria where they fought for Islamists.

According to earlier Haberturk reports, 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 said earlier 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 Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber over Syria on November 24, 2015. Turkey said the plane had violated the Turkish airspace. The Russian Defense Ministry claims that the Su-24 was gunned down over Syria. The crew managed to eject itself. One pilot was shot dead by fire opened from the ground. The second pilot was saved and delivered to the Khmeimim air base in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the attack on the Russian aircraft, which took part in the counter-terrorism operation in Syria and posed no threat to Turkey, as a treacherous "stab in the back.".

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