ANKARA - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin marking Russia’s national day, in their first contact since Ankara downed a Russian warplane in November, an official said Tuesday.

“We confirm media reports the president sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of the Russian national day,” the official said, referring to the Day of Russia marked on June 12.

“I hope our relations will reach a level they deserve,” Erdogan told Putin in the letter, according to the private NTV television channel.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Erdogan had sent Putin the message, saying it was received “via diplomatic channels”, the Ria-Novosti news agency reported. Turkey’s downing of the Russian jet on its border with Syria in November sparked an unprecedented crisis in the two nations’ relationship, which was exacerbated by Moscow’s role in the Syrian war.

Turkey says the Russian plane strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, but Russia insisted it did not cross the border and accused Ankara of a “planned provocation.”

Erdogan wanted to meet with Putin for face-to-face talks on the sidelines of a climate summit in Paris after the plane crisis, which was rebuffed by the Russian leader.

Turkish media reported that Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the occasion of the Russian national day.

Turkey did not participate at the ministerial level in the national day reception at the Russian embassy in Ankara last Friday.

In recent months, Turkish authorities have struck a reconciliatory tone to restore bilateral ties, with Erdogan hoping to get back to previous robust ties with Moscow.

Before the the plane crisis erupted, Turkey and Russia had strong cooperation on many issues, putting disagreements on Syria and Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine to one side.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has also suggested to form a working committee between the two countries to address problems.

The crisis in relations severely hit Turkey’s tourism industry, with the number of Russian tourists drastically declining in southern holiday resorts along the Mediterranean coast.