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With signs growing of a thaw between Moscow and Ankara, Vladimir Putin and Erdogan will, on Wednesday, discuss ties following months of bitterness over a downed Russian jet.
“The phone conversation is being initiated by Russia,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.
Ankara will normalise relations with Moscow “rapidly”, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday after expressing regret over the downing of a Russian warplane last year. A spokesman for the Kremlin said the Turkish premier had apologised for the shooting down of a Russian jet over Turkish airspace last year.
“We never had the desire or deliberate intention of shooting down the Russian Federation’s plane,” Erdogan said in his letter to Putin on Monday according to a statement on the Kremlin website.
“Russia is Turkey’s friend and strategic partner, and the Turkish authorities do not want to ruin relations between the two countries,” he added.
Russia and Turkey are locked in a de facto proxy war in Syria as Ankara backs rebels and Moscow supports president Bashar al-Assad’s forces and Syrian Kurds.
Russia imposed economic sanctions on Turkey after it downed a Russian combat plane over Syria’s border with Turkey in November.
Wednesday’s contact between the two leaders will be the first formal attempt at normalising ties.