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    Attempts to Tie Downing of Russian Su-24 Jet to Failed Coup Questionable

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    It is irrelevant to draw parallels between Ankara downing a Russian warplane last November and last week's failed coup in Turkey, a retired Turkish colonel and current member of the Republican People's Party, Dursun Cicek, told Sputnik.

    In an interview with Sputnik, Dursun Cicek, a retired Turkish colonel and current member of the Republican People's Party warned against linking Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane last year to last week's attempted coup in his country.

    The interview came after media reports quoted Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag as saying that the pilots involved in the downing of the Russian Su-24 jet last November were among those who were arrested for plotting Friday's attempted military coup in Turkey.

    The reports were followed by the allegations that the movement of the Islamic preacher Fetullah Gulen, who is accused of organizing the failed coup, was ostensibly behind last week's attack on the Russian plane, and that the move was intended to tarnish the Turkish government's image at the time.

    Cicek, for his part, said that the decision to shoot down the plane and the subsequent actions depended entirely on pre-defined procedures, and that trying to find a link between the failed coup and the November incident makes no sense.

    According to him, "such decisions are made according to established procedures, and the pilot could not shoot down the plane without getting a corresponding order, which is fulfilled in accordance with certain procedures in the army."

    "Therefore the pilot could not shoot without obtaining the relevant permission. Could the pilot decide all by himself? Yes, he could, but in any case, the shot was fired in line with within the established legal norms. I think that is not right to link this incident with the coup attempt," Cicek said.

    He also said that "if they [the pilots] are really members of the Gulen group, one will artificially proceed from the assumption that they used the initiative [the November incident] in favor of the organization."

    "But these are two different incidents, and drawing parallels between them is a mistake," he pointed out. 

    Meanwhile, the mayor of the Turkish capital Ankara Ibrahim Melih Gokcek said that those who were involved in the killing of the Russian pilot over Syria last year had participated in the attempted coup in Turkey.

    The uprising took place late last Friday as soldiers and tanks were deployed on the streets of Ankara and Istanbul, and around strategic locations, including the parliament building. Shortly afterwards, Edrogan urged Turkish people to come out into the streets to stand up against the rebels.

    Almost 300 people were killed and more than 1,400 wounded during the failed coup.

    The Russian Su-24 attack aircraft was shot down by a Turkish fighter near the Turkish border in Syria on November 24, 2015. Following the incident, Russia imposed a number of restrictive measures on Turkey and has repeatedly said that Ankara should apologize for downing the plane and cover the cost of any associated material losses to the country and the pilot's family.

    On June 27, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Erdogan in a letter addressed to Putin had apologized for the downing of the Su-24 aircraft and extended condolences to the family of the pilot killed in the incident, in a move that was followed by the normalization of Russian-Turkish relations.

    Related:

    Pilots Linked to Russian Su-24 Downing Arrested - Turkish Justice Minister
    Family of Deceased Su-24 Pilot Rejects Turkey’s Offer of Resort House
    Russia Expects Compensation for Downed Su-24 to Restore Ties With Turkey
    Erdogan's Letter to Putin on Russian Su-24 'Good Initiative' - EU Lawmaker
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    party, decision, incident, army, pilot, coup, Turkey, Russia
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