Alleged killer of Russian pilot charged with illegally possessing guns

Published 01.04.2016 00:00
Updated 01.04.2016 19:27

Alparslan Çelik, who allegedly killed the pilot of the Russian warplane downed by Turkey for violating Turkish airspace on November 24, charged for illegal possession of guns.

Çelik and 13 other suspects were detained on Thursday in western province of İzmir. A Kalashnikov rifle, one shotgun, six handguns, two radio sets and ammunition were seized in the operation. Çelik and other suspects were transferred to the Homicide Bureau of the Izmir Police Department on Thursday, and to court for illegal possession of guns.

The suspects were detained by the police in restaurant following a tip-off stating that they are carrying guns. Çelik was previously given a jail term of 2.5 years imprinting fake money, while he was also being sought by Elazığ province police department on charges of fraud and helping a convict to escape.

Following Çelik's detention, Russian authorities stated that they are waiting for the charges to be directed at Çelik.

Turkish national Çelik, who was fighting against Assad regime troops in Turkmen inhabited Bayırbucak region of coastal Latakia province in Syria, gained public recognition following his statements that he killed the ejected pilot – Oleg Peshkov – of Russian Su-24 bomber aircraft that was shot down by Turkish F-16 fighter jets for violation of airspace and within rules of engagement. The navigator of the plane, who also landed on Syrian soil, was rescued by Russian troops.

The issue created a deep drift in Russia – Turkey relations, which were already strained due to Russian involvement in Syrian civil war on behalf of the Assad regime, which was being accused by Turkey for causing the civil war through brutal suppression of democratic demands and causing millions to leave the country in gross human rights violations during the course of the war. Before the incident, Turkey vocationally expressed its objections of Russian involvement in the attacks directed against its ethnic kin in Syria.

In an earlier statement, Çelik said that Russian warplanes kept striking Bayırbucak Turkmens to support the Assad regime even though there is no presence of Daesh or Nusra Front terrorists in the area.

Çelik became engaged in the Syrian civil war when he first went to Bayırbucak in July 2014 to fight alongside Turkmens against Daesh terrorists who were then attacking the area.

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