Putin and Erdogan may meet to mend ties since crisis over downed Russian jet

Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussing in Moscow

The Russian and Turkish leaders, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed over a phone conversion to meet in person, the Kremlin said. The call came after Turkey expressed “regret” earlier this week to Mr. Putin and to the family of the Russian pilot killed in the downed Russian jet incident.

The fighter jet was shot down near the Syria-Turkey border in last November. The plane crashed in the mountainous Jabal Turkmen area of the Syrian province of Latakia, killing the pilot.
Turkey claimed that the jet was warned repeatedly after entering Turkish airspace, a claim fiercely denied by Russian officials. The Russian defence ministry insisted that the aircraft remained within Syria’s borders throughout its mission and did not violate Turkish airspace and received no warnings.
On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to the Turkish nation over the terror attack at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, which according to the latest information killed at least 41 people and injured 239 others. Mr Putin called the attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk on Tuesday “heinous”.

“Reiterating their commitment to reinvigorate bilateral relations and fight terrorism together, the two leaders agreed to remain in contact and meet in person,” he said.
Turkey angered Moscow in the aftermath of the incident by failing to apologise, despite demands from Russian officials. Mr Putin said he had been stabbed in the back and accused Mr Erdogan of collaborating with so-called Islamic State.
Russia responding by hitting Turkey with a raft of sanctions, banning import of Turkish foodstuffs and stopping Russian package holidays to Turkey.
Mr Putin said at the time the restrictions would not be lifted until Russia received an apology.
The Russian Su-24, an all-weather attack aircraft, was flying in skies above the Turkey-Syria border area on 24 November when it was shot down by Turkish F-16s.
A Russian marine involved in a helicopter rescue attempt was killed when the helicopter came under fire from local fighters.
The jet navigator, Capt Konstantin Murakhtin, survived the crash and was taken to Russia’s Hmeimim airbase in Latakia by Syrian government forces.

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