Russian Pilot’s Body Flown to Ankara

Russian Pilot’s Body Flown to Ankara Russian Pilot’s Body Flown to Ankara

Turkey has flown the body of the Russian pilot killed after his plane was downed over Syria to Ankara, to be met by Russian diplomats.

Lt Col Oleg Peshkov’s coffin was flown to the capital from southern Turkey. It is not yet clear when the body will be repatriated to Russia.

Turkish forces shot down the plane claiming it had violated Turkish airspace, which Russia strongly denies. The incident has sparked a furious row between the two countries. Russia announced sanctions against Turkey, BBC reported.

Militants from Syria’s ethnic Turkmen community opened fire on Peshkov and his co-pilot as they tried to parachute into government-held territory on Tuesday. They said he had died by the time he reached the ground.

Earlier on Sunday, Peshkov’s body was received by Turkish authorities at Hatay airport on the Syrian border. A Turkish honor guard carried the coffin on to an air force plane for the flight to Ankara.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu added that the pilot’s body had been treated in accordance with Orthodox Christian tradition.

Russian news agencies said the body was accompanied from Hatay to Ankara by the Russian military attache and would be met by Ambassador Andrei Karlov in the Turkish capital. The other pilot in the plane, Capt. Konstantin Murakhtin, survived and was rescued from militant-held territory in Syria in a special forces operation.

Capt. Murakhtin said he wanted to go back to duty and stay in Syria, saying “someone has to pay” for his colleague’s death.

A decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday covers imports from Turkey, the work of Turkish companies in Russia and any Turkish nationals working for Russian companies. The decree also calls for an end to charter flights between the countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to apologize to Russia over the incident.

On Friday, he accused Moscow of “playing with fire” in its Syria operations. But on Saturday, he said he was “saddened” by the downing of the jet.

Turkey and Russia have important economic links. Russia is Turkey’s second-largest trading partner, while more than three million Russian tourists visited Turkey last year.