Turkmen Brigade murderer a Turkish citizen with far-right links
THE rebel leader who boasted of murdering a Russian pilot shot down over Syria is a member of the Turkish Grey Wolves fascist paramilitary group.
The Morning Star can reveal that Alparslan Celik (right) — deputy commander of the Turkmen Brigade that shot at the parachuting crew of the Su-24 tactical bomber downed in a Turkish ambush — is a Turkish citizen from Elazig province.
Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov — earlier incorrectly identified as Major Sergei Rumyantsev — was killed by Turkmen forces after ejecting from his jet on Tuesday.
His navigator Captain Konstantin Murakhtin was captured but rescued by Syrian and Russian special forces on Wednesday — the first known use of Russian ground forces in Syria’s civil war.
Mr Celik quickly claimed that his supposedly native Turkmen militia had killed both pilots.
But Turkey’s Dogan news agency reported last year that he is a Turkish citizen whose father Ramazan was mayor of Keban municipality for the ultra-nationalist National Movement Party (MHP).
The Grey Wolves is the paramilitary wing of MHP and has been linked to the murders of hundreds of left-wing and liberal activists since the 1970s.
Celik Jnr has posted pictures of himself performing a Grey Wolves salute and his father reported last year that he had gone to fight “until martyrdom, if necessary.”
The Turkmen Brigade had been losing ground to Syrian army forces backed by Russian air power in northern Latakia province — close to the Turkish border — in the days prior to the incident.
Col Peshkov has been posthumously awarded the Hero of Russia medal, the nation’s highest military award.
Cpt Murakhtin and Naval Infantryman Alexandr Pozynich, who was killed in the rescue operation, were awarded the Order of Courage.
The rescued navigator has requested he be sent back into action, saying: “I must pay back the debt for my captain.”
Yesterday, Ankara released what it claims were 10 radio warnings to the Russian plane — communications which the navigator said he never received.
Russian jets bombed the Islamic State (Isis)-controlled Bab al-Hawa border crossing east of Aleppo on Wednesday and destroyed a supply convoy from Turkey at Isis-controlled Azaz to the north.
And yesterday Russian customs officials began checking Turkish imports for possible terrorist threats.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu insisted Ankara didn’t want the shooting to “affect our relations with Russia,” and insisted the leaders of the two states would meet soon, without giving details.