Russian President Vladimir Putin, as planned, will call his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday. That will be the first conversation between the two leaders since Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft in the sky over Syria last November.
“A conversation between President Putin and President Erdogan will be held tomorrow (on June 29) on the initiative of the Russian side,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday, adding that the conversation will take place approximately in the middle of the day.
Putin’s call will be his answer to Erdogan’s letter, in which he apologized for the downed aircraft and expressed interest in resolving the situation. The message was sent to the Kremlin seven months after the Su-24 incident.
On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin saying sorry for shooting down the Su-24 jet and stressing “readiness to make every effort to restore traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Turkey.”
Relations between the two countries sharply deteriorated after a Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet downed a Russian Su-24M bomber in the sky over Syria on November 24, 2015. Pilot Oleg Peshkov was killed by militants from the ground after ejecting. Ankara claimed the bomber violated the Turkish airspace near the Syrian border. The Russian Defense Ministry said the warplane was flying over Syrian territory and had never violated Turkey’s airspace.
On November 28, Putin signed a decree imposing special economic measures against Turkey. On January 1, 2016, the bulk of sanctions against Turkey came into effect. Russia imposed a ban on imports of fruits, vegetables, poultry, flowers and white salt from that country. Besides, some business activities and services of Turkish companies, employment of new staff from Turkey were either banned or restricted. At the same time, Russia introduced visa restrictions and banned sales of package holidays to Turkey.