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MOSCOW, June 28. /TASS/. Ankara has made a serious step in the right direction towards Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Ministry official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday speaking about the future of bilateral ties.
"Certain steps and actions of Turkey are taking place," Zakharova said. "This is a serious step in the right direction. No doubt, it has been taken into account," the diplomat said.
According to the diplomat, a possible meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) is being looked at.
"As for Russian-Turkish contacts, both personal and telephone, this subject is being looked at," she said. "So far, there are no amendments to the program of the meeting of the BSEC foreign ministers in Sochi. Neither are there any changes in the minister’s schedule. It is yet at a stage of preparation."
"The issue of the Russia-Turkey relations is the one that is now being worked on," she underscored.
According to earlier reports, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is expected to take part in the meeting of the BSEC Foreign Ministers Council due to be held in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi on July 1.
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.