Today Turkish authorities recovered the body of Oleg Peshkov, the Russian pilot who was shot down from a warplane during a mission near the Turkey-Syria border.
The body was brought from northern Syria, and the coffin was carried in an ambulance to the Hatay Airport located in southern Turkey; from which the body was transported to Ankara, where it was handed to Russian diplomats. According to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the deceased was granted the Orthodox Christian ceremony.
Rebels from Syria had shot Peshkov as he parachuted out of the bombed warplane. They say the pilot was dead upon landing. The other pilot in the jet managed to survive, and he was rescued from the rebel’s territory in Syria through an operation conducted by special forces.
The incident that caused the pilot’s death, in which Turkish Air Forces shot down the Russian aircraft, has caused a dispute between the two nations involved in the issue of the Syrian war. While Turkish officials say the plane had trespassed Turkey’s airspace, the Russian pilot who survived denied they ever crossed the limit and contradicts Turkey’s claim that they sent the plane repeated warnings before the attack took place.
Russian representatives stated that the incident had been a “planned provocation,” and although they assured Russia wasn’t planning on going to war with the other nation, the disagreement has led Russian president Vladimir Putin to announce sanctions against Turkey, which impose economic restrictions on the import of certain Turkish products, involves tourism and transport, and prohibits Russian businesses from hiring Turkish employees.
The episode has not only hindered the relationship between the two countries but also affected their attempt at forming a united front against the Islamic State after their recent terrorist attacks across the globe.
Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, tried to conciliate the conflicted nations on Saturday.
“We tell Russia, ‘Let’s talk about this issue within its boundaries, and let’s settle it’. Let’s not make others happy by escalating it to a level that would hurt all our relations,” Erdogan said.
Murakhtin, the Russian pilot who survived the bombing, said he wished to continue on his duty in Syria, arguing that someone had to pay for his partner’s death.