Turkish pilots who downed Russia jet part of coup plot: Official


Two Turkish pilots who played a role in the downing of a Russian plane in November are in custody over the weekend’s failed coup in Turkey, an official said late on Monday.

The shooting down of the Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border sparked an unprecedented diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Russia, which ended last month when the two countries agreed to restore ties.

“Two pilots who were part of the operation to down the Russian Su-24 in November 2015 are in custody,” a Turkish official told journalists, adding that they were detained over links to the coup bid.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, called his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan the other day, describing the attempted coup as unacceptable and voicing hope for a speedy return to stability.

The two men are expected to meet in the first week of August, in their first face-to-face meeting since the rapprochement.

Turkey’s Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, said the other day that over 7,500 people have been detained over Friday’s botched power grab, including 103 generals and admirals.

The failed putsch left more than 300 people dead. Erdogan has accused his arch-foe, Fethullah Gulen and his supporters of being behind the coup, but the US-based preacher denies any involvement.