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Moscow Demands Turkey Arrest Man Who 'Murdered' Russian Pilot

Moscow called for the arrest of a Turkish man it claims killed the pilot of a Russian jet downed by Turkey last month.

"We demand that the Turkish authorities take immediate steps to apprehend Alparslan Celik and his accomplices and bring them to justice for the murder of the Russian pilot," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said December 30.

In an interview published December 27 in the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, Celik -- a Turkmen rebel -- did not directly claim to shoot the pilot but said that "revenge is the most natural right" and his "conscience cannot be bothered by a person who threw bombs at Turkmen civilians every day."

Both pilots aboard the Su-24 jet, which Turkey said it shot down because it strayed over its border with Syria, ejected and parachuted to the ground on the Syrian side of the border. One was then killed by gunfire.

Zakharova said Celik's comments admitted "direct involvement in the murder of the Russian pilot," angering and surprising Moscow.

She accused Hurriyet of being a "platform where terrorists and murderers brag about their crimes and spread hate toward Russia."

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, and TASS

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