Putin says Turkey ‘apologized’ for downing of Russian jet

Putin says Turkey ‘apologized’ for downing of Russian jet

Putin says Turkey ‘apologized’ for downing of Russian jet

AFP photo

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 30 that Turkey had apologized for the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet last year, after Ankara said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had expressed “deep sorrow” over the incident. 

“It is also known that Ankara brought apologies for the downed Russian bomber,” Putin said June 30, according to Russia’s TASS News Agency. 

Erdoğan sent Putin a letter on June 24, in which he expressed his “regret and sorrow” to his Russian counterpart over the downing of a Russian jet and the killing of two Russian pilots in November 2015, in a bid to end a months-long strain in ties between Ankara and Moscow. 

Though Russia claimed that Erdoğan apologized to Putin, Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy adviser, İbrahim Kalın, said the Turkish president only expressed his “deep sorrow” over the incident and extended his condolences to the families of the pilots. 

Kalın said Erdoğan wrote “I am saddened” in the letter, although the Kremlin version cited the Turkish president as saying “I apologize.”

Strained relations between the two countries entered a possible reconciliation process after Erdoğan’s letter. Since then, Putin called Erdoğan on June 29, during which the two agreed to revive the bilateral relationship between the two countries. 

Russia expects to restore working relations with Turkey soon, President Vladimir Putin said at a conference of ambassadors and permanent representatives in the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

“A telephone conversation with the president of that country took place the other day,” Putin said June 30. 

“With this in mind, we’re going to take measures soon for restoring bilateral cooperation,” he added.

The respective Turkish and Russian foreign ministers, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Sergei Lavrov, will be holding a meeting on July 1 in Sochi on the sidelines of a regional summit on Black Sea economic cooperation after the phone conversation between Erdoğan and Putin.

Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on June 30 that Moscow would remove economic sanctions against Turkey “on a gradual basis,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

Speaking at a meeting of cabinet of ministers, Medvedev said economic sanctions against Turkey would be lifted in line with the instructions of Putin.      

Russia would also demand guarantees by the Turkish government in order to provide safety for Russian tourists, Medvedev said.      

Moscow expects compensation from Ankara for the shooting down of a Russian war plane before a full restoration of Russian-Turkish relations, Interfax news agency quoted Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, as saying on June 30, according to Reuters. 

“Vladimir Vladimirovich has made clear the terms that will allow us to restore our relations: Apologies, punishment for those guilty and compensation,” Karlov told Interfax, referring to Putin. “The first has happened, we are now waiting for the second and third.”