Body of Russian pilot in Turkey, preparing handover to Russia: Turkey's PM

A woman lays flowers to portraits of Russian servicemen killed after Turkey shot down Russian aircrafts on Nov 24, 2015.
A woman lays flowers to portraits of Russian servicemen killed after Turkey shot down Russian aircrafts on Nov 24, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

ANKARA (Reuters) - The body of the pilot killed when Turkey shot down a Russian jet last week was taken to Turkey late on Saturday (Nov 28) to be handed over to Russia on Moscow's request, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday (Nov 29).

The body is being treated in accordance with the Orthodox tradition, Mr Davutoglu said in a news conference in Ankara before going to Brussels for a meeting with EU leaders on migration.

He did not say how the body was delivered to Hatay in southern Turkey but said Russia's military attache was going there on Sunday as part of procedures to recover the remains.

Relations between Turkey and Russia have sharply deteriorated since Tuesday's incident, with Russia imposing economic sanctions and revoking a visa-free agreement, while Turkey has sought to cool tensions, seeing the Paris climate change talks that start this week as a chance to mend ties.

Mr Davutoglu said that with different coalitions operating in Syria with differing objectives, similar incidents to that of the downing of the Russian jet could happen unless there was information sharing and coordination.

Both United States along with other allies, including Turkey, as well as Russia are carrying out air campaigns against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other groups.

Russia and Turkey have accused each other of aiding ISIS, but both say they are battling the militants who have taken swathes of land in Iraq and Syria.

However, Russia sides with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and has been accused by the West of using its bombing campaign to help him instead of targeting ISIS.

Turkey, meanwhile, wants Mr Assad gone and has been supporting the rebels fighting him.