NEW: State Department sides with Turkey, says Russian jet was in Turkish airspace
Dignitaries on hand for the arrival of Col. Oleg Peshkov's body, Sputnik news says
Russia and Turkey have been at loggerheads since Turkey shot down the pilot's jet
In the bitter debate about where the Russian warplane was flying when it was shot down, the United States has taken Turkey’s side.
The available information indicates the warplane was in Turkish airspace, State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said.
Moscow has steadfastly maintained its jet was over Syria when it was downed.
The State Department announcement came after the body of a Russian pilot who died after the jet was shot down along the Turkey-Syria border was flown back to Russia, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defense.
Col. Oleg Peshkov’s body arrived Monday at the Chkalovsky military airport near Moscow, according to a statement from the ministry.
Russia’s state-run Sputnik news agency reported that Peshkov’s body was met by Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu and Russian air force Commander-in-Chief Victor Bondarev.
Peshkov will be buried in Lipetsk, Russia, as requested by his family, Sputnik reported.
Turkey and Russia disagree on whether the Russian plane was in Turkish airspace when it was shot down, as well as whether any warnings went out to the crew.
The incident left one pilot dead; another was rescued.
Erdogan: ‘Let’s talk’
After days of tough talk after the incident, Erdogan struck a more conciliatory tone Saturday, saying his government was “really saddened” by the matter and insisting he did not want to ramp up tensions.
“We wouldn’t have wished this to happen. But, unfortunately, it did,” he said at an event in Balikesir.
“We hope that the tensions with Russia will not grow and result in more saddening incidents.”
Erdogan appealed for dialogue, saying the U.N. climate change conference in Paris, which he and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to attend, would be a good place to have such talks.
“We tell Russia, ‘Let’s talk about this issue within its boundaries, and let’s settle it,’ ” Erdogan said Saturday. “Let’s not make others happy by escalating it to a level that would hurt all our relations.”
However, his comments fell short of the apology Moscow has demanded.
Putin signs punitive decree
Putin has accused Turkey of trying to bring its relations with Russia to a “dead end,” calling the incident “a stab in the back” and tying Turkey to terrorists.
On Saturday, he signed a decree authorizing punitive economic measures against Turkey.
The decree partially suspends “visa-free” travel between the countries, mandates that Russian travel agencies stop selling tours to Turkey – a major tourist destination for Russians – and bans charter transportation between the nations, according to Sputnik news.
The decree also prohibits the import of certain Turkish goods and, starting next year, will prevent Russian companies from hiring Turkish citizens, Sputnik said.
French President Francois Hollande has been meeting with world leaders over the past week in an attempt to strengthen international efforts to destroy the Sunni extremist group.
But the tension between Turkey – part of the NATO alliance – and Russia, which has been conducting its own campaign of strikes against rebel groups in Syria, would appear to complicate those efforts.
Russia is a staunch ally of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey and its Western allies have supported rebel groups seeking to overthrow his rule.
CNN’s Laura Koran, Anastasia Sobinyakova and Greg Botelho contributed to this report.