Turkish and Russian FMs to meet on July 1

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov will meet on June 1 at the Black Sea Economic Cooperation meeting (BSEC) in Sochi, Agence France-Presse has reported, citing presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov will meet on June 1 at the Black Sea Economic Cooperation meeting (BSEC) in Sochi, Agence France-Presse has reported, citing presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın.

Moscow invited Ankara to the economy meeting on June 23, marking the first such move since relations between the two countries soured after Turkey downed a Russian jet for violating its airspace last November.

Çavuşoğlu accepted the invitation on June 27 after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his “regret and sorrow” over the jet incident in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Moscow believes that Turkey has made a “serious step in the right direction” after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his “regret and sorrow” over the downing of a Russian jet last year, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said June 28, according to Reuters.

However, the Kremlin also said on June 28 that it would take more than a few days to mend Moscow’s relations with Ankara.

“One should not think it possible to normalize everything within a few days, but work in this direction will continue,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with journalists, as reported by Reuters.

“President Putin has expressed more than once his willingness to uphold good relations with Turkey and the Turkish people,” Peskov said. “Now a very important step has been made in this respect.”

Erdoğan expressed his “regret and sorrow” to Putin in a letter addressing the downing of the Russian jet and the killing of two Russian pilots in 2015, expressing his desire to restore bilateral ties.

The Kremlin said on June 27 that Putin received a letter from Erdoğan that was later confirmed by the Turkish presidency that said Ankara and Moscow had “agreed to take necessary steps to improve the relationship.”

“I want to once again express my sympathy and deep condolences to the family of the Russian pilot who died and I say: ‘I’m sorry,’” Erdoğan said in the letter, according to the Kremlin.