Turkey Sees Acceleration in Steps to Mend Ties with Russia
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Monday that there was an acceleration in steps to smooth relations with Russia, strained since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the border with Syria last November.
Kurtulmus welcomed what he said was a decision to allow some Russian companies to employ Turkish nationals again, in comments during a televised news conference in Ankara, Reuters reported.
The remarks came after Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan earlier sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, congratulating him on Russia's National Day.
Moscow-Ankara ties plunged to an unprecedentedly low level after a Turkish F-16 fighter destroyed a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber targeting Daesh (also known as ISIL and ISIS) positions in northern Syria in 2015. One of the Russian pilots was killed on the ground by a militant group and the other pilot was evacuated.
The Turkish leadership has refused to apologize or offer condolences for the incident. Moscow retaliated by prohibiting Russian businesses from hiring Turkish citizens. Russia then cancelled all charter flights to Turkey, stripping the country of income from thousands of Russian tourists. In addition, Moscow banned practically all food imports from Turkey, primarily fruits and vegetables, along with most poultry products.
On June 1, Kremlin spokesman Peskov reiterated the conditions voiced by Russian President Vladimir Putin in May, saying that Moscow expects Ankara to deliver apologies and financial compensation for the downed Su-24.