Putin, Erdogan in first contact since plane crisis
ANKARA—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin marking Russia’s national day, in their first contact since Ankara downed a Russian warplane in November, an official said Tuesday.
“We confirm media reports the president sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of the Russian national day,” the official said, referring to the Day of Russia marked on June 12.
“I hope our relations will reach a level they deserve,” Erdogan told Putin in the letter, according to the private NTV television channel. In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Erdogan had sent Putin the message, saying it was received “via diplomatic channels”, the Ria-Novosti news agency reported.
Turkey’s downing of the Russian jet on its border with Syria in November sparked an unprecedented crisis in the two nations’ relationship, which was exacerbated by Moscow’s role in the Syrian war.
Turkey says the Russian plane strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, but Russia insisted it did not cross the border and accused Ankara of a “planned provocation.” Erdogan wanted to meet with Putin for face-to-face talks on the sidelines of a climate summit in Paris after the plane crisis, which was rebuffed by the Russian leader. Turkish media reported that Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the occasion of the Russian national day.—AFP