Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced dead Russian pilot has been handed over to Turkey on Saturday night at Syrian border and will be sent to Russia soon as the latest development following the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey.
Davutoglu said, “Clerics of the Orthodox Church in Hatay have organised a religious ceremony last night in accordance with the traditions of his faith. His body will be sent to Russia over Russia’s demand as a result of our initiative,” in a press conference in Ankara on Nov. 29 before leaving for a meeting with the European Union officials in Brussels.
A Russian Sukhoi SU-24 fighter jet has been shot down by Turkish F-16s over making an airspace violation in the region of the Turkmen Mountain which is located in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border.
Two pilots were reportedly parachuted and one of them was killed by the opposition forces following the crash which has also wounded two civilians in the Turkish side of the border close to the Yayladagi district of the Hatay province.
The other pilot has been found unharmed by Syrian regime forces and brought into Russian Hemeimeem Airbase in Latakia province of Syria by the Mediterranean. He is already back in Russia, according to some media accounts.
Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) released the radar footages of the incident which has indicated the downed warplane violated the Turkish airspace over the country’s Hatay province near its Syria border.
The incident has caused a political crisis between the countries which have strong economic ties, leading Turkish and Russian leaders to issue warnings against each other.
Russian intervention into the Syrian conflict began with a bombing campaign on the side of the Assad regime on Sept. 30, targeting mostly Syrian opposition-held territories in the country, rather than DAESH. The intervention has been strongly protested by US, Turkey and the NATO.
Turkey and Russia have been in disagreement over the Syrian civil war. Turkey and the US-led coalition have consistently defended the bringing down of the Assad regime and backing opposition groups while Russia has supported the regime since the beginning of the conflict.
The existing disagreement has been worsened following the high-level Russian military intervention into the Syrian conflict.
In addition, Russia has recently waged heavy air strikes against Turkmen villages supported by the ground assault of forces loyal to Syrian regime leader Assad in the Bayirbucak Turkmen area in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border, escalating tensions with Turkey which has strongly protested the Russian bombardment of the area.