ANKARA, Turkey – A top Turkish government official expressed hope that Turkey and Russia can mend relations soon, adding that neither country is in a position to "sacrifice" ties.
Russian-Turkish ties have soured in November after a Turkish jet shot down a Russian warplane after it violated its airspace near the Syrian border. Russia halted package tours to Turkey and banned most agricultural imports from Turkey in retaliation.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said after a Cabinet meeting on Monday: "I am of the opinion that there is no problem that cannot be overcome. I hope that it will be possible for the countries to resolve the problem through dialogue."
Kurtulmus again said Turkey wishes the incident hadn't occurred, but fell short of making an apology demanded by Moscow.