The body of the Russian pilot killed after his warplane was downed by Turkish forces on the Syrian border has been flown to Ankara, to be met by Russian diplomats.
Lt. Col. Oleg Peshkov’s coffin was flown to Ankara from southern Turkey. It is not yet clear when the body will be repatriated to Russia.
Turkish forces shot down the Russian military jet saying it had violated Turkey’s airspace, which Russia denies.
The incident has sparked a furious row between the two countries.
Russia announced economic sanctions against Turkey.
Rebels from Syria’s ethnic Turkmen community opened fire on Lt. Col. Oleg Peshkov and his co-pilot as they tried to parachute into government-held territory on November 24.
The rebels said the Russian pilot had died by the time he reached the ground.
On November 29, Lt. Col. Oleg Peshkov’s body was received by Turkish authorities at Hatay airport on the Syrian border. A Turkish honor guard carried the coffin on to an air force plane for the flight to Ankara.
Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu added that the pilot’s body had been treated in accordance with Orthodox Christian tradition.
Russian news agencies said the body was accompanied from Hatay to Ankara by the Russian military attaché, and would be met by Ambassador Andrei Karlov in the Turkish capital.
The other pilot in the plane, Capt. Konstantin Murakhtin, survived and was rescued from rebel-held territory in Syria in a special forces operation.
Capt. Konstantin Murakhtin said he wanted to go back to duty and stay in Syria, saying “someone has to pay” for his colleague’s death.
Thousands of anti-government protesters are gathering in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, ahead of the return of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan from a North African tour.
Protesters are calling for Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s resignation, correspondents in the square say.
Earlier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to press ahead with controversial plans to redevelop a park in Istanbul.
A local environmental protest against the proposal spiraled into nationwide political unrest seven days ago.
The original sit-in at Gezi Park mushroomed after police cracked down on activists defending the green space near Istanbul’s Taksim Square from developers.
For days, demonstrators in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities have been calling for the three-term prime minister to quit.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to return from Tunisia on Thursday evening after a four-day visit to North Africa.
Speaking in Tunis earlier, he acknowledged that police had used “excessive force” against activists at the original sit-in. But he said that a small group was now manipulating what had started as an environmental protest.
“Among the protesters, there are extremists, some of them implicated in terrorism,” he told reporters.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan also defended the urban development plan for Gezi Park.
“The project respects [Turkey’s] history, culture and environment,” he said.
“What we are doing is to protect the rights of the majority and to preserve the beauty of Istanbul.”
Thousands of anti-government protesters are gathering in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, ahead of the return of PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan from a North African tour
The economic response to the remarks was swift, with the stock market dropping nearly 5% after the prime minister’s announcement.
Since the protests erupted, four people including a police officer are reported to have died, thousands have been injured and hundreds arrested in the unrest.
Among those detained were seven foreigners from France, Germany, Greece, Iran and the US, Turkey confirmed on Thursday.
Protesters accuse Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government of becoming increasingly authoritarian and trying to impose conservative Islamic values on a secular state.
His ruling Justice and Development Party has governed Turkey since 2002, winning a series of election victories.
Earlier this week, Deputy PM Bulent Arinc apologized for police violence in the original protest at Gezi Park.
He also met representatives from a protest group calling itself the Taksim Solidarity Platform (TSP).
The collective presented a list of demands, which included the dismissal of police chiefs, a ban on the use of tear gas, the release of detained protesters, the sacking of Istanbul’s governor, and the scrapping of the plans for the redevelopment of Gezi Park.
Opponents of the plan say the park is one of the few green areas left in central Istanbul.
But Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said the project would go ahead, and that the historic Ottoman-era military barracks would be rebuilt on the site as planned.
The protests come as Turkey prepares to host an international conference focused on its relations with the EU on Friday.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to make the opening speech at the event, which will be attended by the EU’s Commissioner for enlargement, Stefan Rule, British ex-foreign minister Jack Straw and representatives from other member states.
France earlier condemned Turkey’s heavy-handed police response to the protests.
Negotiations with the EU have stalled in recent years because of concerns over freedom of speech, treatment of religious minorities, women’s and children’s rights, civilian control of the military and long-running tensions with Cyprus.
An explosion near a secondary school killed three people, injured at least other 15 and set several vehicles on fire in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Tuesday.
It was not immediately clear what caused the blast in the downtown Kizilay district but a deputy prime minister said a bomb was suspected.
According to Besir Atalay, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, there was “information that a bomb was planted” on a vehicle.
Five of the injured people are in critical condition, Besir Atalay said.
The explosion killed three people, injured at least other 15 and set several vehicles on fire in Ankara
The vehicle detonated across from the district governor’s office and about 200 meters (650 feet) from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office.
“I’ve learned that people who haven’t got any sense of humanity terrorized civilians and carried out an attack in Ankara,” President Abdullah Gul said in televised comments from Germany, where he is on a state visit.
“I strongly and vehemently curse this act of terrorism.”
Thick smoke could be seen rising from the central commercial area of Kizilay.
According to local mayor, Bulent Tanik, an eyewitness saw one person throwing a burning gas canister on to the vehicles from a nearby building.
“The investigation is under way,” Bulent Tanik said. “If true, that canister might have triggered the blast of a liquefied petroleum gas tank on a vehicle.”
The blast was powerful enough to destroy six cars and shatter windows in Kizilay, which is surrounded by government ministries. One of the vehicles was totally burnt down, television images showed.
Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said the initial blast, in an LPG-fueled car, triggered five other similar vehicles on the street to explode. The first car to detonate was sold September 13 and the transaction hadn’t yet been completed, he said.
IdrisNaim Sahin said it was “highly likely to be a terrorist attack”. Kurdish, leftist and Islamic militants have carried out bomb attacks in Turkey in the past.
Interior minister said the attackers wanted to target as many people as possible, because the street where the blast occurred was normally very busy.
A fire broke out but was quickly contained by firefighters. Several vehicles were damaged and windows were blown out in nearby buildings.
Television images showed several parked cars ablaze in front of a local state authority’s offices.
The area was quickly evacuated, for fear of further explosions and to allow ambulances to take away the casualties.
One person was detained in connection with the blast, said a policeman, who declined to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to speak on the matter. Hurriyet newspaper reported that two people were taken into custody, citing unidentified police officials
There have been several bomb attacks in Turkey’s main cities in recent years, many blamed on the Kurdish insurgent movement, the PKK.
However the last big attack in Ankara four years ago, which killed nine and injured 120, was blamed by police investigators on a lone, leftist suicide bomber.
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