MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci told Sputnik he cannot confirm that the same pilots who took down a Russian plane in November 2015 also bombed the Turkish parliament during the coup attempt.
"Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek citing a media source said that pilots who took down the Russian jet and bombed the parliament are the same people. But I have no confirmation for this information," Zeybekci said.
Zeybekci told Sputnik he hoped all the problems of the bilateral relations with Russia would be resolved during a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 9.
The two presidents are expected to meet next Tuesday in St. Petersburg for the first time since the bilateral relations deteriorated in 2015 over Turkey's downing of a Russian Su-24 attack aircraft.
"Both sides are completely ready to return the level of bilateral relations which we had before November 24, 2015. Obviously, how and how soon it will be done only the time will show. I see hope that during the August 9 meeting problems will be resolved entirely," Zeybekci said.
By apologizing for the incident, Ankara fulfilled Moscow’s condition for restoring the long-term partnership between the two countries. Erdogan also said in the letter that a legal case had been opened against the Turkish citizen suspected of involvement in the death of the downed plane’s pilot, which was another precondition for the normalization of ties. Putin subsequently lifted the ban on charter flights to Turkey and instructed the government to negotiate a revival of trade with Ankara.