Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on the publication by Hurriyet newspaper of an interview with Turkish citizen Alparslan Celik who headed the forces that shot Russian warplane commander Oleg Peshkov on November 24, 2015
On December 27, 2015, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet published an interview with Alparslan Celik, a Turkish citizen who was behind the shooting that led to the killing of SU-24 warplane commander after the aircraft was downed by the Turkish Air Forces over the Syrian territory on November 24, 2015.
In this “exclusive” interview, Mr Celik admits to be directly involved in the killing of the Russian pilot and does not express any regret. According to the newspaper, Mr Celik has been engaged in combat operations in Syria for the last two years as a member of an illegal armed group.
It is both surprising and outrageous that one of Turkey’s leading national newspapers provided a killer and a terrorist an opportunity to brag about a crime he had committed and spread nationalist ideology filled with hatred towards Russia and the Russian people.
The fact that the Turkish authorities have not commented on this interview is telling. Russia demands that the Turkish authorities weigh the actions and statements by a national of their country who openly confessed to an international crime, the killing of an air force pilot of a foreign country. It is high time that Ankara explains its official position regarding the participation of its citizens in hostilities on the side of extremist illegal armed groups operating in a neighbouring country. Or will Turkey prefer to turn a blind eye to this issue as well?
We demand that Turkish authorities take immediate action to catch Alparslan Celik and his accomplices and charge them with a criminal offence for killing a Russian pilot and taking part in hostilities as members of an illegal armed group in a foreign country.
December 30, 2015