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ANKARA, June 27. /TASS/. Turkey’s Minister of National Defense Fikri Isik said on Monday serious progress is expected in his country’s relations with Russia.
"We are on the verge of very important developments in relations with Russia," Turkey’s NTV television channel quoted him as saying in comment of Monday’s reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had channeled a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin to extend apologies for the downing of a Russian warplane in November 2015.
Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said earlier on Monday that Erdogan had finally offered his apologies to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the death of the pilot of the downed Russian plane. "Russian President Vladimir Putin has received a message from Turkey’s President Erdogan where the Turkish leader expressed his readiness to settle the situation over the downing of the Russian warplane," Peskov said. "In his message, the Turkish head of state offered his condolences to the family of the Russian pilot and said, ‘I am sorry.’"
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 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.