ANKARA, May 6 /TASS/. Prosecutors in the Turkish town of Izmir are studying the evidence to prove that Turkish ultranationalist Alparslan Celik is guilty of murdering Russian pilot Oleg Peshkov but have brought no official charge so far, Celik's lawyer Murat Ustundag told TASS on Friday.
"I have not received any official notification from the Prosecutors’ Office if official charges have been brought against my client or dropped. The prosecutors have not initiated any court proceedings against Celik on either of the charges. For the moment, the investigators are studying the existing evidence, including the Russian pilot episode, to decide if it can serve as ground for initiating criminal proceedings," Ustundag said adding that he and his colleagues were still waiting for the prosecutors’ decision.
"If the prosecutor’s office considers the existing evidence to be sufficient, it will open a criminal case. We have received no official notification to this effect so far," Ustundag said.
Some media reports which appeared earlier on Friday claimed that the prosecutors had cleaned Celik from a charge of murdering the Russian pilot.
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.