MOSCOW, November 24 (RAPSI) – Alparslan Celik, who had earlier claimed responsibility for the murder of Oleg Peshkov, the pilot of Russian Su-24 bomber downed by the Turkish Air Force in Syria, withdrew a plea of guilty, RIA Novosti reports Thursday citing the defendant’s lawyer Murat Ustundag.

Investigation is underway. The case has not been submitted to court yet.

The incident occurred on November 24, 2015. The Russian plane was allegedly downed by an air-to-air missile fired by a Turkish F-16C fighter. Two pilots managed to eject from the plane. Peshkov was killed by ground fire from militants when parachuting, his navigator survived. Another serviceman, marine Alexander Pozynich, was killed during the rescue mission.

Celik, a fighter from a Turkish-backed Turkmen brigade in Syria, publicly admitted killing Russian pilot.

When he returned from Syria where he fought with militants against government forces, Celik was arrested in a group of 14 people in a restaurant in Izmir on March 30. One AK assault rifle, two pistols and ammunition were seized from them.

Later, Celik retracted his admittance of killing the pilot and sent a letter to Maria Zakharova, the official spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, asking to start a dialog with him. However, Zakharova refused to react on the basis of some unofficial communications published on social networks. She said that Russia is interested in Celik’s clear statements with regard to the murder of the pilot and details of the incident based on proof.

Relations between Russia and Turkey became troubled after the incident. At that time, President Vladimir Putin described the murder of Russian pilot as “a stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists.”