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Erdogan says: I am sorry. Russia and Turkey agree to improve ties
Monday, 27 June 2016 09:57

Russia and Turkey have agreed to immediately take necessary measures to improve relations between the two countries, Ibrahim Kalyn, a representative of the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

"We are pleased to announce that Turkey and Russia, without delay, have agreed to take necessary steps to improve bilateral relations," Reuters quoted the representative of the Turkish President as saying.

On June 27, Russian President Putin received a message from his Turkish counterpart, in which Erdogan apologized for killing the pilot of the downed Su-24 Russian bomber. Erdogan also expressed his willingness to restore friendly relations with Russia, Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"The letter also noted that there was judicial investigation launched against the Turkish citizen, whose name was associated with the killing of the Russian pilot, the message posted on the Kremlin website said.

'Erdogan expresses his deepest regret given what happened and highlights his readiness to do everything possible to revive traditionally friendly relations between Turkey and Russia, as well as to react jointly to crisis events in the region, and combat terrorism,' the President's spokesman added.

Turkish President Erdogan also wrote in his letter that Russia was a "friend and strategic partner for Turkey, with which the Turkish authorities would not want to ruin relations." "We have never had a desire and intention to shoot down an aircraft of the Russian Federation," Erdogan assured.

According to Erdogan, "having taken all the risks and having made great efforts," the Turkish side took the dead body of the Russian pilot from the Syrian opposition and delivered the body to Turkey. The organization of all pre-funeral procedure was conducted in accordance with religious and military procedures, the message says.

"We conducted all of this work at a level worthy of the Turkish-Russian relations. I wish to once again express my sympathy and deep condolences to the family of the deceased Russian pilot and I say: I am sorry. With all my heart I share their pain. We see the family of the Russian pilot as a Turkish family. To ease the pain and the severity of the damage, we are ready for any initiative," Erdogan acknowledged.

Sources in the administration of the Turkish president confirmed the fact of sending the letter to Putin, Turkish newspaper Harriyet Daily News wrote.

Interestingly, the official representative of the Turkish president stated last week that Ankara had no intention to apologize to Russia. "It is too early to speak on the subject that requires time. There is no apology or compensations in the planning," Kalyn explained last week.

Kalyn noted that it was still impossible to say when the relations between the two countries were going to normalize. He reminded about another letter that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan traditionally sent to Vladimir Putin on Russia Day. In the letter, Erdogan expressed his hope for the relations between the countries to restore.

Commenting on the message, the Kremlin said they Russia like to normalize relations with Turkey, but added that it would not possible unless Turkey took certain actions, such as official apologies and financial compensations.

The Russian Su-24 bomber was shot down by the Turkish Air Force in November 2015. The pilots ejected, but one of them - Oleg Peshkov - was killed by being shot from the ground.

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