Russian President Vladimir Putin has received a letter in which his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologized for the death of the 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 incident involving the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber led to the worst deterioration of Turkish-Russian relations in recent history, with Russia describing it as a “stab in the back.”
“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.
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.