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Kremlin regrets Erdogan’s official letter to Putin lacks "substantive moments"

June 15, 2016, 13:20 UTC+3

Moscow wants Turkey’s official apologies and the payment of compensations

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Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in December 2014

Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in December 2014

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, June 15. /TASS/. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed regret on Wednesday that the official letter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin on occasion of Russia Day had no substantive issues.

"This is a protocol message. Traditionally, an exchange of such messages comes on occasion of national days. This is a protocol and ordinary practice in international relations. Unfortunately, it had no substantive moments," Peskov told reporters.

After relations between Turkey and Russia deteriorated, Ankara sometimes continues sending such protocol messages, "this depends on the situation," Peskov added. This was Turkey’s first official letter after the attack on the Russian warplane, he said.

According to the spokesman Moscow’s conditions for settling problems in Russian-Turkish relations are very simple and clea.

"President Putin made it very clear that after the incident (the attack on Russia’s Sukhoi-24 plane) any normalization of relations looks impossible to Russia without Ankara taking the necessary action," he said.

Asked if he was referring to Turkey’s official apologies and the payment of compensations, Peskov replied, "Yes, of course!"

"The Russian president stated that unequivocally, not in a roundabout way, but very unambiguously, laconically and clearly," he recalled.

Peskov said that Russia would like to take its relations with Turkey back to the previous high level.

"Certainly (the Kremlin does have expectations for an improvement of relations) and President Putin has said more than once that Russia would like to have a good relationship with Turkey," he said. "Moreover, we very much appreciate the period of relations with Turkey when there were relations of true partnership, advanced in all fields, trade and the economy above all," Peskov said. "We very much regret that such a rich experience of relations was ruined instantly by the Turkish side’s aggressive actions."

"It goes without saying - and Putin said about that, too - that we would like to see normalization of our relations and a return to the period of good and mutually beneficial cooperation," he stated.

Reports said on Tuesday that Erdogan said in his letter that he hoped that the relationship between Russia and Turkey would come to a level "it deserves." This is the first official letter since last year. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also sent a letter to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on the occasion of Russia Day celebrated on June 12. He expressed hope that the bilateral ties will be restored.

Relations between Russia and Turkey deteriorated sharply 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 claims 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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin then warned that the attack against the Russian bomber would entail "serious consequences" for bilateral relations. On November 28, he signed a decree on measures to protect Russia’s national security, on the protection of Russian citizens from criminal and other unlawful actions and on the introduction of special economic measures against Turkey.

Russia has stated many times that Ankara is obliged to apologize and compensate for the losses caused by the attack on the Russian plane. There have been no apologies from Ankara so far.

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