Russia-Turkey relations thaw as slain pilot’s family offered a house

KEMER , Turkey, July 1 (UPI) — Russia lifted its ban on travel to Turkey, and a Turkish city offered a home to the family of the Russian fighter pilot whose plane was shot down on Nov. 24, 2015, the results of a thaw in Russian-Turkish relations.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered an apology earlier this week to Russian President Vladimir Putin for Turkey’s attack on a Russian fighter jet, shot down over the Turkey-Syria border. The pilot, Oleg Peshkov, survived the crash of the plane but was shot and killed by Turkmen militants.

Although Erdogan denied apologizing in his message to Putin, only using words including “deep sorrow” and “regret” in a letter, Putin found it adequate to ease the strain on Moscow-Ankara relations.

The Turkish resort city of Kemer, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, offered a house to Peshkov’s family.

“I received a delegation led by Kemer’s Mayor Mustafa Gul. The city’s authorities said they would like to give a house as a gift to the family of the killed Russian air pilot,” said Alexander Tolstopyatenko, Russia’s consul general in Antalya, Turkey. He added a decision whether to accept the offer has not been made.

Following the apology by Erdogan, which was demanded by Putin, Russia lifted sanctions levied after the incident against Turkey’s tourism industry. Charter flights to Turkey and package holiday tours were banned until this week.

Russians are closely following the trial, in Turkey, of Alpharslan Celik, who is accused of killing Peshkov, the Kurdish Rudaw Media Network reported Friday.

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