: Did Erdogan apologize to Putin?

11:39 Jun. 29, 2016

Did Erdogan apologize to Putin?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (GettyImages Photo)

Confusion over letter sent by Erdogan to Putin sparked on the Internet

After many months of economic and political struggle, Turkey and Russia decided to try and restore their former relations. The reason that kicked off this process was a letter, sent by Turkish President Erdogan to his Russian counterpart Putin.

In the text Erdogan expressed his regret over shooting down the Russian fighter jet, which had caused the rift in the relations between the countries. Moscow, which had repeatedly said Turkish apologies were necessary to restore the connections, said the letter was "a very important step" towards this goal.

Read also: Turkey says downing of Russian jet was 'defensive action'

However, certain confusion over the fact whether Erdogan actually apologized to Putin over the incident or not, sparked on the Internet.

The letter, which is partially published on the Kremlin's website, does indeed features the words "excuse us". However, it seems they are meant for the family of the pilot, who died after Ankara shot down the warplane. 

"I once again express my sympathy and profound condolences to the family of the Russian pilot who was killed and I am saying: "Excuse us." I share their grief with all my heart.", the letter says, according to the Kremlin.

Read also: Turkey tells Russia its patience 'not unlimited' as tensions simmer over downed jet

And as Russia and Turkey announced phone talks between their leaders, Erdogan spokesman said the letter wasn't actual apologies.

"Erdogan spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the Turkish president had expressed regret over the shooting in a letter to Putin, but added that this was not an apology", Reuters journalists wrote in their material on the dynamics between the two countries. 

But despite that, Turkey believes a normalization phase in its relations with Russia is looming on the horizon. Russia is being more cautious on the matter, stating Ankara must also provide financial compensation for the incident.

Read also: Turkey says ready to pay Russia for downed jet 'if necessary'

And it seems Turkey could also agree to do it in some form as Kalin says Ankara "may pay aid to "relieve Russian pain", but that would not constitute compensation, which would require a legal ruling or an agreement".

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