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ANKARA, September 5. /TASS/. Turkey’s Alparslan Celik was not involved in the killing of Oleg Peshkov, the pilot of a Russian Sukhoi attack aircraft brought down by the Turkish Air Force over Syria last year, his lawyer Taskin Kangal told Tass on Monday.
"I don’t understand why this issue is still on the agenda for our countries. I say with all responsibility that Celik did not shoot and did not kill the Russian pilot. There is evidence to this, which the Prosecutor’s Office looked into," Kangal said. "And the Prosecutor’s Office came to the conclusion that he had not killed the pilot," he added.
"Due to the absence of evidence of Celik’s guilt, he was set free on that episode," the lawyer added. "I will tell you more: Celik is the person who handed over the body of the killed pilot to the Turkish authorities. Then Ankara handed over his remains to Russia," Kangal said.
"At the present, Celik has been arrested and on trial over an old case of a prison escape," he explained. As to the Turkish pilots, who as Ankara says, opened fire and shot down the Su-24 fighter jet, he said "they are under arrest, and investigation against them continues".
"These pilots are defendants in the case of FETO (Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization). This is a highly classified case, and I am sure that nobody will be commenting on its course," Kangal added.
Ankara accuses Fetullah Gulen, an Islamist opposition figure permanently resident in the United States since 1999, and FETO backers of being the attempted coup in Turkey in July. FETO is an acronym widely used in Turkey in relation to different groups associated with Gulen. Turkey demands his arrest and extradition from the United States.
At a news conference following the G20 summit Putin said that the restoration of Russian-Turkish relations was to a certain extent connected with the investigation of the Russian pilot’s killing.
"Turkey has arrested the pilot who attacked our plane and arrested the man who from Syrian territory opened fire against our pilots after they ejected themselves," Putin said.
"We are waiting for the results of the investigations being conducted by the Turkish authorities, but in any case we see the wish and intention of the Turkish leadership to restore Russian-Turkish ties," Putin said.