The two pilots who shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber last November have been arrested for their connections to the recent coup attempt in Turkey, various sources have confirmed.

Turkish Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag issued the statement Tuesday morning, placing the pair with more than 7,500 others who the government believes had a hand in the failed attempt to overthrow the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Some Turkish officials, including the mayor of the capital city Ankara have gone so far as to claim that the very downing of the Russian plane may have been done to damage the reputation of Turkey in international eyes, stating “these rascals caused the rift between Russia and us.

Why? Because they wanted to isolate us in world politics” before going on to say “"our relations with Russia have been spoiled by these villains."

The Shootdown

The attack occurred on November 24, but the details remain murky. Turkish authorities insist that the Russian Su-24M bomber had violated Turkish airspace and was asked to leave repeatedly before being shot down, while the Russian defense ministry maintains that its aircraft was on the Syrian side of the border the entire time. A Turkish Air Force

A Turkish Air Force two-seat variant of the F-16 then fired an air-to-air missile at the Russian plane, forcing the pilots to eject. One of them, Lt. Col. Oleg Peshkov, was killed by ground fire while descending in his parachute, while another was rescued and returned to his base.

The rescue operation, however, cost the Russian military another life, 29 year old marine Alexander Pozynich.

Pozynich’s search and rescue helicopter was brought down by rebel fire while searching for the surviving pilot.

As a result of the shootdown, relations between the two nations became increasingly hostile. President Erdogan refused to apologize for the incident, provoking Vladimir Putin to issue a number of economic restrictions against the country.

On June 27, Erdogan finally caved in and delivered a formal letter taking responsibility for the incident. Three days later, Putin lifted a number of the restrictions.

Fethullah Gulen

The government believes that the two men were loyal to Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally turned bitter rival who currently resides in the United States.

The coup saw military forces block bridges and seize government buildings in several cities, but was ultimately suppressed at the cost of nearly 300 lives lost and more than 1,400 wounded.

The Turkish government has since begun a full-scale purge, eliminating any traces of those loyal to Gulen and his movement from its ranks.

On top of the arrests mentioned, more than 50,000 police officers, judges, civil servants, soldiers, and even teachers have been suspended or fired from their jobs and numerous media outlets have been shuttered. Gulen himself has denied having any involvement with the

Gulen himself has denied having any involvement with the coup, and said he believes the entire thing was orchestrated to give Erdogan an excuse to crack down on opposition to his regime.

The Turkish public has expressed its desire to have Mr. Gulen extradited back to Turkey, but the United States has not shown any signs it is willing to hand over the cleric just yet.