Putin to call Erdogan after Turkey apologised Russia 

Putin to call Erdogan after Turkey apologised Russia 

MOSCOW: (APP) Russian President Vladimir Putin is to hold his first phone call with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan since Ankara downed one of Moscow's warplanes in Syria, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the conversation would take place Wednesday at the "initiative of the Russian side" after the Turkish strongman sent a letter to Putin that Moscow said on Monday contained an apology.

"An important step towards normalising relations was taken with the sending of President Erdogan's letter," Peskov told journalists.

"There is no need to think that in several days it will be possible to normalise everything but work in this direction will continue."

The downing of the plane in November shattered ties between the two nations and saw Moscow slap an embargo on Turkish food products and ban charter flights and the sale of package tours to the country. It also sparked a bitter war of words between the two strongman leaders with Putin calling it a "stab in the back" and demanding an apology from Erdogan.

Ankara has said Erdogan expressed his "regret" over the incident in the letter to Putin and asked the family of the pilot who died to "excuse us", but has not explicitly confirmed he apologised for shooting down the plane.

Turkey has argued that the Russian plane strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, but Russia insisted it did not cross the border and accused Turkey of a "planned provocation."