Turkish PM retracts compensation offer for downed Russia jet, but Erdogan, Putin to speak on Wednesday

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim addresses the media in Ankara, Turkey, on June 27, 2016.
Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim addresses the media in Ankara, Turkey, on June 27, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Tuesday (June 28) went back on an earlier offer of compensation to Russia for shooting down one of Moscow's military jets in November, the media reported.

"Compensating Russia is not on the table, we have only expressed our regrets," CNN-Turk cited Yildirim as saying, hours after he said Ankara was ready to offer compensation for the incident that shattered ties between the two countries.

Despite the retraction of the compensation offer, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are due to speak by phone on Wednesday for the first time since the plane was shot down, the Kremlin said.

 

Speaking on public TV network TRT late on Monday, Mr Yildirim had said: "We have said that if necessary we are ready to pay compensation."

The confusion came a day after a major breakthrough in the diplomatic crisis between the two countries - which back opposing sides in the Syrian war - with Mr Erdogan reaching out a hand of conciliation.

The Kremlin said Mr Erdogan had apologised for the incident, which took place along the Turkish-Syrian border.

But Turkish officials said Mr Erdogan had written to Mr Putin to "express his regrets" over the incident rather than issue an outright apology.