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Putin holding phone conversation with Erdogan — Kremlin

June 29, 12:17 UTC+3
The compensation for Russia's Su-24M bomber downed by Turkey depends on the agreements the two presidents are going to reach during the conversation
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© Alexei Nikolskiy/Russian Presidential press service/TASS

MOSCOW, June 29. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin is holding a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the moment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

The Kremlin will inform mass media about the outcome of the conversation later, he added.

It is the first conversation between the two leaders since Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft in the sky over Syria last November.

According to the spokesman, the compensation for Russia's Su-24M bomber downed by Turkey depends on the agreement following today's conversation.

"I invite you to be oriented exclusively towards the results of the contact between the heads of state," Peskov told the media.

He recalled that there have been "many statements from Turkey on that score." Asked for a comment on Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s remark Ankara was not considering the issue of compensations Peskov replied that he had heard the prime minister make "a different statement on that score."

He refrained from answering the question if the two leaders would touch upon the issue of lifting economic restrictions Russia imposed on Turkey, adding that the conversation was still in progress.

Yildirim told the media on Tuesday that the issue of a compensation to Russia was not on the agenda. Turkey merely expressed regret to Russia, he said after a speech in parliament.

In the meantime, in his main statement Yildirim said that the stage of normalization between Russia and Turkey had started and the ice in relations was beginning to melt. And speaking on the TRT television channel on Monday he said that in Erdogan’s message to Putin the Turkish side expressed regret over the incident and said that it would pay a compensation, if necessary for the killed air pilot Oleg Peshkov.

Putin’s call is his answer to Erdogan’s letter in which the Turkish leader apologized for the downed aircraft and expressed interest in resolving the situation. The message was sent to the Kremlin seven months after the Su-24 incident.

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.

Peskov said on Tuesday that Erdogan’s apologies were an important step, but a great deal is still to be done for the normalization of bilateral relations.

Peskov recalled Putin’s repeatedly declared intention to maintain a good relationship with Turkey and the Turkish people, the absence of alternatives to such kind relations, and the conditions that must be created for them.

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