President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sent a letter to his Russian counterpart calling for the restoration of “traditional friendly ties,” Turkey’s presidential spokesman confirmed on Monday.
Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Ibrahim Kalin said that Erdogan expressed “deep regret” over last year’s shooting down of a Russian warplane which violated Turkey’s airspace.
“I would like to send my condolences to the family of the pilot who lost his life and express one more time that I share their pain. I am saying to his family: 'Excuse us'," said Kalin, quoting Erdogan’s words to President Vladimir Putin contained in the letter.
Kalin added that Erdogan used the communication to call for anti-terrorist cooperation between Turkey and Russia and joint efforts to solve regional crises.
The spokesman added that Ankara and Moscow had agreed to take necessary steps to improve relations.
Following the Nov. 2015 downing of the Russian warplane in Turkish airspace, the Kremlin ordered sanctions on food products, an end to visa-free travel, and a ban on Russian tourists taking package holidays in Turkey.