Erdoğan, Putin to meet in late July or early August

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

After promising steps to return to good relations, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said late Thursday that he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin either late July or early August.

Speaking to reporters and answering questions prior to his departure for Warsaw to attend a NATO summit, Erdoğan said he is due to hold a bilateral meeting with Putin to improve ties. "It will be announced once it has been confirmed," Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan expressed regret for Turkey's downing of a Russian military jet to Putin in late June, paving the way for bettering the soured relations.

A statement released by the presidential spokesman said that Erdoğan sent a letter to Putin to express his regrets about the downing of the Russian warplane in November 2015 and apologize to the family of the Russian pilot who was killed in the incident.

Relations between the two countries hit a low in November 2015 after Turkish jets downed a Russian Su-24 bomber near the Syrian border for violating Turkish airspace. Turkey provided radar data that the Russian planes breached the border, but Moscow has insisted that the war plane had not crossed the border.

In the beginning, Erdoğan and Putin exchanged harsh criticism and ultimatums in the wake of the jet crisis. The Kremlin directed accusations at Ankara and imposed sanctions that continue to deal a heavy blow to Turkey's tourism sector.

Russia's sanctions hit itself as well. Due to sanctions imposed on Turkish goods, vegetable and fruit prices in Russia have risen.

In the fallout after Turkey shot down the Russian jet, Moscow announced several wide-ranging sanctions on Turkey starting in January, including the end of visa-free travel and a ban on Turkish food products. Russia also called for its nationals to boycott Turkey as a tourist destination.

Turkey and Russia have for years differed on policy on Syria and Ukraine. Ankara has not recognized Russia's 2014 annexation of the Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and has repeatedly accused Moscow of supporting the Bashar Assad in Syria.

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