Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 23, 2016. (Xinhua/Bai Xueqi)
MOSCOW, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- The recent murder of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was an attempt to worsen Russian-Turkish ties, but in vain, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday at his annual year-end press conference.
Putin said he had once been skeptical about the statement that the downing of a Russian jet in November 2015 was not ordered by top Turkish officials, but organized by people targeted at destroying Russian-Turkish relations, but he changed his mind after Monday's assassination of the Russian ambassador.
He believed that there has been "deep penetration" of destructive elements in Turkish state structures, including law enforcement organs and armed forces.
However, "we understand the importance of Russian-Turkish relations, and we will strive to develop them by all means," he added.
Karlov was shot dead by a Turkish policeman on Monday at an art exhibition ceremony in the Turkish capital of Ankara.
Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed to jointly act on Syria, one day after Karlov's murder. The relationship between Moscow and Ankara has taken a turn for the better from the stalemate resulting from Turkey's downing a Russian warplane on Nov. 24, 2015.