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Russia never said it would extend "olive branch of peace" to Turkey — Lavrov

May 31, 13:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian foreign minister has stresssed that "Turkey is obliged to apologize and compensate for the losses" that were incurred by downing the Russian warplane
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Turkish Embassy in Moscow after a protest over downed Russian jet, November 26, 2015

Turkish Embassy in Moscow after a protest over downed Russian jet, November 26, 2015

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. Russia’s attitude towards Turkey remains the same: Ankara is obliged to present apologies and compensate for the losses suffered from the destruction of a Russian bomber on November 24 last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the website of the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily in an interview.

Saying that Russians are extending an "olive branch of peace" to Turkey (as some mass media said - TASS) would be fundamentally wrong.

"On the basis of this mistake conclusions begin to be made how these actions are to be assessed," Lavrov said.

"We’ve never said we are extending an olive branch of peace to Turkey. Why should we?" Lavrov said. "We say that Turkey is obliged to apologize and compensate for the losses that were incurred by that criminal act, by that war crime."

Lavrov recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin, when asked if Turkey was taking any steps (towards normalizing relations - TASS), replied in the affirmative, saying that Ankara was trying "to approach through different channels."

"He said that we are prepared to consider such messages, but first Turkey must do what it should," Lavrov said.

Lavrov said that the incident cost Turkey far more than the ban on "the export of tomatoes."

"They have been hit really hard and they have been trying to approach us via various covert channels and to create committees of some sort," he said.

Lavrov recalled that back last December, when their paths crossed in the OSCE, the Turkish foreign minister suggested creating a committee or a group of diplomats, military and intelligence officers.

"Our stance remains what it has been all the way," Lavrov said.

Russis-Turkey crisis

Relations between the two countries worsened sharply after Turkish warplanes on November 24, 2015 downed a Russian Sukhoi-24 bomber over Syria. Ankara claimed the Russian pilot had intruded into Turkish airspace.

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that the lost plane had remained within Syrian airspace all the time and there was no violation.

President Putin warned that the attack against the bomber would have the direst effects on bilateral relations. On November 28 he signed a special decree on measures to protect Russia’s national security and Russian citizens and to introduce economic sanctions against Turkey.

Ankara has not presented apologies so far.

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