Erdogan has apologized to Putin over downed Jet Plane,claims Kremlin

MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Monday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had apologised to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over Ankara’s downing of one of Mos¬cow’s military jets in Syria last year that shattered ties.
Putin has repeatedly demanded an apology from Erdogan since the November 24 incident and the latest move could help spell the end of a feud that has seen Moscow slap a raft of sanctions on Ankara.
“The head of the Turkish state in his message expressed his sympathy and deepest condolences to the family of the dead Russian pilot and said sorry,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
He added that Erdogan wrote in a letter that he wanted to do “everything possible for the restoration of the traditionally friendly relations between Turkey and Russia.” The Kremlin later released a statement citing Erdogan as saying Ankara “never had the desire and the intention” to down the Russian Su-24 warplane.
“I want to once again express my sympathy and deep condolences to the family of the dead Russian pilot and I say sorry,” the statement quoted the Turkish leader as saying.
Turkey’s Anadolu state news agency reported that presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Erdogan had written to Putin to “express his regrets” about the downing of the warplane, but he did not explicitly confirm Erdogan had apologised over the incident.
“We are pleased to announce that Turkey and Russia have agreed to take necessary steps without delay to improve bilateral relations,” Kalin added.
Turkey’s downing in November of the warplane on its border with Syria — where Moscow is flying a bombing campaign in support of long-standing ally President Bashar al-Assad — sparked an unprecedented crisis in the two nations’ relations.
Ankara had argued that the Russian plane strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, but Russia insisted it did not cross the border and accused Turkey of a “planned provocation.” The countries are on opposing sides in the Syrian conflict, with Ankara backing rebels fighting to topple Assad while Moscow is one of his last remaining allies.

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