Erdoğan Sent A Letter to His Russian Counterpart Putin
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 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.
The letter was the most significant in a series of signals from Ankara in recent weeks that it is keen to repair ties that plunged to historic lows after Turkey shot down the Russian war plane on November 24.
“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,” Erdoğan told Putin in the letter.
In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Erdoğan 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 then exacerbated by Moscow’s role in the Syrian war.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the occasion of the Russian national day, the Turkish official said.
Turkey did not participate at the ministerial level in the national day reception at the Russian embassy in Ankara last Friday.
Turkey is largely dependent on Russian gas and oil for its energy supplies and before the crisis the two sides had been targeting $100 billion (89 billion euros) in bilateral trade volume by 2023.
Erdoğan has admitted that ties with Moscow reached a “rupture point” over the plane crisis but expressed hope they would regain their former strength.
“With Putin, we brought bilateral ties to a very advanced level. Our trade volume with Russia was much more than that with America … It is saddening to see such strong ties reach the current state,” he said.
“I hope our relations will recover in a short time and we’ll get back to our old days again with new vigour.”