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Turkey's Erdogan sees Paris climate summit as chance to mend ties with Russia

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during his meeting with mukhtars at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, November 26, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday the climate change summit in Paris next week could be a chance to repair relations with Moscow after Turkey shot down a Russian jet near the Syrian border on Tuesday.

Erdogan has said Turkey would not apologize for downing the jet, which resulted in the death of one of the pilots. Because of this, Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to contact Erdogan over the incident.

But Moscow has retaliated with economic sanctions on Turkey and has retracted visa-free travel between the two countries.

“The recent events really saddened us,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in the western city of Baliksehir. However, he stopped short of the apology demanded by Russia.

Erdogan has said Turkey deserves the apology because its air space was violated by the Russian aircraft.

“On Monday in Paris there will be an international climate summit, that can be a chance to repair our relations with Russia. Confrontation will not bring anyone happiness. As much as Russia is important for Turkey, Turkey is important for Russia,” Erdogan said.

Turkish government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus said Turkey is deliberating which measures to take in light of Russia’s retaliatory steps.

Reporting by Yesim Dikmen and Polina Devlitt; Writing by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky