The Turkish leader explained that the relations between the two countries are extremely important for the entire region, and so the crisis sparked by the downing of a Russian warplane in Syrian airspace had to be resolved no matter what.
"An undesirable incident involving an aircraft occurred between Russia and Turkey. The negative consequences of this incident lasted for eight months. We then wrote a letter and offered to put an end to this process, because relations between Turkey and Russia are very important for the region. The problem had to be solved. We also expressed our condolences for what happened and received a positive answer," Erdogan told Turkish national public broadcaster TRT.
The relations between Russia and Turkey soured in November 2015 after a Turkish F-16 fighter jet downed a Russian Su-24 attack aircraft that was conducting a mission against Daesh terrorists.
The ensuing crisis in relations however suddenly changed for the better as Erdogan sent a letter to Putin which contained an apology for the incident, and the Turkish government launched criminal proceedings against the alleged murderer of the downed plane’s pilot.