MIDEAST >Alleged killer of Russian pilot of downed jet defends the killing

Savaş Özbey – ISTANBUL

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A Turkish man who was alleged to have shot a pilot who ejected from a Russian plane that was downed by Turkey one month ago has defended the killing of the soldier.  

“That pilot had bombed us five minutes [before Turkey downed the Russian jet] and our brothers were killed or wounded by these bombs. There is no place for a person who has bombed civilian Turkmens every day in my conscious,” said Alparslan Çelik, the fighter Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov accused of killing Oleg Peshkov, one of the two pilots of a Russian Su-24 warplane which was downed by Turkish fighter jets on Nov. 24 on the grounds that it violated Turkey’s airspace.

“Reprisal is the most natural right. There is life in reprisal,” he added. 

In an interview with daily Cumhuriyet on Dec. 14, Karlov claimed that the person who shot the Russian pilot after he ejected himself from the plane and was attempting to make a safe landing was Çelik, a Turkish citizen.

Turkey and Russia are at odds regarding Russia’s airstrikes in Syria’s north, with Turkey saying it is bombing the Turkmen minority in the region, while Russia claims to be targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

During an annual press conference on Dec. 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had never heard of the Turkmens in Syria. 

On Dec. 22, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Putin did not tell the truth about Turkey not sharing intelligence about Turkmens in Syria before Russia started conducting airstrikes in the country, adding that he had told Putin about the situation in person.


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