Turkey is ready “if necessary” to compensate Russia after it shot down one of Moscow’s military jets over Syria in November, the prime minister, Binali Yildirim, has said.
“We have said that if necessary we are ready to pay compensation,” Yildirim told public TV network TRT late on Monday, hours after the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, offered a conciliatory hand to Moscow over the incident that shattered ties between the two countries.
Yildirim also indicated that Erdoğan would speak with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, this week over how to rebuild ties between the two countries, which back opposite sides in the Syrian war.
“I think we have reached an understanding on this affair. We will put this incident behind us and continue on our path,” Yildirim said.
Turkey had previously refused to apologise over the incident, insisting the Russian plane strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings. Russia insisted it did not cross the border and accused Turkey of a “planned provocation”.
Ankara is backing rebels fighting to topple Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, while Moscow is one of his last remaining allies.
Ankara went on a diplomatic charm offensive on Monday as it sought to shore up its influence in the region, hailing a deal with Israel to restore ties as well as mending fences with Russia.
Erdoğan said at a dinner to break the Ramadan fast on Monday night that he hoped that relations with Russia would quickly return to normal.
Earlier on Monday, the Kremlin said Erdoğan had apologised to Putin over shooting down the jet. Turkish officials said, however, that Erdoğan had written to Putin to “express his regrets” and did not explicitly confirm he had said sorry.