MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Monday, the Kremlin announced that Erdogan had sent a letter regarding the incident with the Russian plane, saying "Excuse us" and pledging to take any steps to "relieve the pain and severity of damage" caused to the family of the pilot killed during the incident.
"I believe the apology by the Turkish President to the family of the Russian pilot is a good initiative, independently from all legal disputes that may still exist concerning the exact circumstances of the downing of the Russian military jet," Fleckenstein said.
He said it was possible that the Turkish president was hoping to annoy certain European leaders with his effort to restore ties with Russia amid souring Turkish-EU relations over the visa waiver issue, but added the move could not upset the European Union.
The Russian Su-24 attack aircraft was shot on November 24, 2015 by a Turkish F-16 fighter near the Turkish border in Syria. Following the incident, Moscow imposed a number of restrictive measures on Turkey and has repeatedly said that Ankara should apologize for downing the plane and cover any material losses to the country and the pilot's family.