MOSCOW (Hurriyet Daily News)—Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 30 that Turkey had “apologized” for the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet last year, while Ankara said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had expressed “deep sorrow” over the incident.
Erdoğan sent Putin a letter on June 24, where 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, Putin said at a conference in the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
“A telephone conversation with the president of that country took place the other day,” Putin said.
“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.
During the press conference, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said 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, Reuters quoted Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov.
“Vladimir Putin has made clear the terms that will allow us to restore our relations: Apologies, punishment for those guilty, and compensation,” Karlov told Interfax. “The first has happened, we are now waiting for the second and third.”