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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: June 29, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Phone Call Between Putin and Erdogan Scheduled Today; Kremlin Changes Text of English Translation of 'Apology'
6 years
Russian Senator Sees Link Between Terrorist Attack on Istanbul and Erdogan's Overtures to Russia, Israel

The Kremlin has changed the English translation of the text of the letter from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan so as to diminish the implication that it is an apology, Novaya Gazeta and RBC reported.

As we reported on Monday, June 24, in order to begin to amend relations with Russia, which have badly deteriorated since Turkey shot down a Russian fighter near the Syrian border last November, President Erdogan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, described as an "apology" by world media. 

The Kremlin propaganda site RT made much of the gesture.

But a spokesman for Erdogan subsequently told Reuters that the Turkish leader had not apologized as such but had expressed regret and asked the pilot's family to "excuse us."

A clarification was made in the Turkish and some Russian media that Erdogan's "apology" was not immediately directed to Putin, but to the family of the airman killed after he jettisoned from the Su-24 and was shot dead by militants. Turkey is to pay some compensation for the death.

Yesterday June 25, independent media spotted a change made on As RBC noted, the text of the English translation originally stated:
"I once again express my sympathy and profound condolences to the family of the Russian pilot who was killed and I apologise to them." 

RBC found a copy of this original in Google cache (no longer available) and took a screen shot:

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2016-06-29 07:34:15

But the text was subsequently changed to say, "I am saying, 'Excuse Us.'"

This expression in English is similar to the Russian expression Izvinite, which conveys regrets but not apology.

Putin and Erdogan were scheduled to hold a telephone conversation today and TASS reported this morning that it would take place "as planned."

But late last night, there was a terrorist attack on Ataturk Airport in Istanbul in which at least 36 people were killed and 146 injured, the BBC reported. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said early signs suggested ISIS was behind the attack. It is not clear now if the phone call will go ahead as scheduled.

Erdogan said the attack should serve as a turning point in the global fight against militant groups, the BBC reported:

"The bombs that exploded in Istanbul today could have gone off at any airport in any city around the world," he said.

Among those wounded was one Russian man, RBC reported.  A children's dance troupe that happened to be at the airport was unharmed but will face difficulty in returning home now, said RBC.

Russia has halted planes to Turkey, RBC reported.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick