By Mustafa Yildirim
IZMIR, Turkey (AA) - A public prosecutor in Izmir dropped all charges against a Turkish man Monday, who was charged with killing the pilot of a Russian fighter jet, which was downed by Turkey for violating its airspace in November 2015.
The prosecutor decided to drop charges against Alparslan Celik who had been remanded in custody for 37 days, security sources said on condition of anonymity due to the restrictions on speaking with the media. Celik said he was the one who told his men to not fire at the parachuting pilot. After examining the video evidence, the prosecutor decided to drop the case.
On March 31, Turkish security forces had apprehended 14 people, including Celik in a restaurant in Hatay province’s Karabaglar district, according to the sources.
A long-barreled Kalashnikov rifle and two handguns were seized during the operation.
Celik and 13 other suspects were detained for "violation of firearms law" and sent to the Homicide Bureau of the Izmir Police Department.
Following the downing of a Russian fighter jet on Nov. 24 after it had violated Turkish air space despite multiple warnings from the Turkish military, relations between the two countries soured rapidly.
One of the jet's two pilots had been killed while the other was rescued by Russian forces.
*Anadolu Agency Correspondent Sibel Ugurlu contributed to this report from Ankara.