In the letter, Erdogan uses the exact Russian word “izvinite” (similar to sorry).
Turkish press secretary İbrahim Kalin was working on a draft copy with both Russian translators and diplomats from Kazakhstan. He opted for the Russian word “izvinite”.
As Kalin explained, the word was stronger than “sorry” but not as strong as the word “apology”.
The Turkish Air Force shot down the Russian Su-24 jet near the Syrian border, which left both countries on the brink of war. Since then, Erdogan has switched from the West to Russia to restore “friendly” relations with Putin.