The body of a Russian pilot who died after his plane was shot down by Turkish jets has been delivered to Turkey over the Syrian border and will be handed over to Russian officials on Sunday.
“The funeral proceedings have been carried out in line with his religious traditions with contributions from Orthodox Christians in Hatay [Turkey’s southernmost province],” Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in the capital Ankara.
Davutoglu added Turkey received the body on Saturday.
Russian pilot Oleg Peshkov ejected from the stricken aircraft on Tuesday and was killed by rebel ground-fire as he parachuted into Syrian territory.
“As a result of the initiatives we have taken, in line with Russian requests, the body will soon be delivered to Russia today in the presence of the Russian military attache and an official from the Turkish general staff,” said Davutoglu before he took off for a European Union meeting in Brussels.
Turkey says the Russian aircraft entered its airspace, even though it was warned repeatedly not to. Russia says the pilots received no warning at all.
Ankara says it had warned Moscow multiple times previously over airspace violations on its Syrian border.
Davutoglu said with different military forces operating in Syria with varying objectives, similar incidents could happen unless information sharing and coordination were boosted.
He also called for one united coalition to fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Russia supports the government of President Bashar al-Assad in its nearly five-year war against rebel forces in Syria. Turkey has called for more military action to end Assad’s government.