Vladimir Putin has received a letter in which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologized for the death of the Russian pilot who was killed when a Russian jet was downed over the Syrian-Turkish border last November, the Kremlin said.
Erdogan expressed readiness to restore relations with Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. “The head of the Turkish state expressed his deep sympathy and condolences to the relatives of the deceased Russian pilot and said ‘sorry,’” Peskov said.Updated!
|Putin and Erdogan- random image|
In his letter, Erdogan called Russia “a friend and a strategic partner” of Ankara, with whom the Turkish authorities would not want to spoil relations.
“We never had a desire or a deliberate intention to down an aircraft belonging to Russia,” the letter read, according to a statement published on the Kremlin website.
According to the statement, Erdogan’s letter stressed that “the Turkish side undertook all the risks and made a great effort to recover the body of the Russian pilot from the Syrian opposition, bringing it to Turkey. The organization of the pre-burial procedures was conducted in accordance with all religious and military procedures.”
Ankara has treated the family of the dead Russian pilot as if it were a Turkish family and is “ready for any initiatives to relieve the pain and severity of the damage done,” the letter said.
The address by the Turkish leader also informed that a criminal investigation has been launched against the person suspected of killing the Russian pilot, the Kremlin said.
In addition, Erdogan expressed readiness to tackle security challenges in the region and fight terrorism together with Moscow.
Turkish Hurriyet newspaper reported that sources close to Erdogan have confirmed that the letter with the apology was sent to Moscow
Turkish nationalist Alparslan Celik has claimed responsibility for Peshkov's death.
The news of Erdogan’s apology had a positive effect on Turkey’s currency. The Turkish lira rallied to 2.9330 from 2.9430 against the US dollar, Reuters reported.
Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, will take part in a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, due to take place in the Russian resort of Sochi on July 1, Turkish NTV channel reported.
An invitation to participate in the event was sent to Cavusoglu by Russia’s Foreign Ministry last week.Note the fact that the apology came after an invitation to, but ahead of a scheduled July 1 meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation- Indicating relations were normal- So why apologize at this time? Other then as an exercise in public relations?
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