Turkey’s “Apology” to be Tested on Syria’s Border
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologized Monday for the downing of a Russian warplane in November and called for Russia and Turkey to mend a bilateral relationship that has become openly hostile over the incident.
One Russian pilot was killed last year when two Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian Su-24 warplane over Turkey’s border with Syria in an unexpected clash that Russian President Vladimir Putin called a “stab in the back administered by the accomplices of terrorists.”
In a statement, Erdogan’s press secretary said Russia and Turkey “have agreed to take necessary steps without delay to improve bilateral relations,” specifically noting regional crises and the fight against terrorism.
Joint operations between Washington and Ankara in Manbji, a well-known waypoint for Islamic State fighters, weapons and equipment coming from Turkey bound for Raqqa,would effectively open “a second front” in the ongoing fight to drive the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, from Syria’s borders, [Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu] said.
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