ANKARA (Reuters) - Normalization of relations between Turkey and Russia has started, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Tuesday, adding that an improvement in ties with all Black Sea and Mediterranean countries was an important goal.

Yildirim made the comments to members of his ruling AK Party in parliament. He was speaking a day after Turkey announced the restoration of diplomatic ties with Israel and expressed regret to Russia over the downing of a warplane last year, seeking to mend strained alliances.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Humeyra Pamuk)