Thursday, May 26, 2016


Russia

Russia Issues Sanctions Against Turkey Over Downed Plane

By RFE/RL

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has approved a list of sanctions against Turkey in retaliation for Ankara's shooting down of a Russian warplane.

Medvedev's order, which was published on the government's official website on December 1, included a list of Turkish agricultural products that Russia will ban starting on January 1 and all charter plane flights as of December 1 except those returning vacationing Russians.

The order did not mention any change to the status of the proposed Turkish Stream natural-gas pipeline from Russia through Turkey or the Russian work on the Akkuyu nuclear power plant.

However, two Gazprom sources told Reuters that the company was awaiting word from Russian President Vladimir Putin on the possibility of a freeze or a "time out" period for the Turkish Stream project.

Turkey receives the majority of its energy resources from Russia.

Russian-Turkish relations have drastically deteriorated since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian-Turkish border on November 24.

Turkey and its Western allies say the Russian jet violated Turkish airspace and been warned 10 times before it was shot down.

Russia says the plane never left Syrian airspace.

The list of foods banned starting on January 1 included fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, pickles, oranges, tangerines, grapes, apricots, pears, peaches, plums, strawberries, and apples, as well as most chicken and turkey products along with salt and cloves.

But the ban did not include lemons, as Russia reportedly imports virtually all of its lemons from Turkey.

The sanctions against Turkey also include a ban on new labor contracts for Turks to work in Russia.

Russian tour agencies will also be prohibited from selling Turkish vacation packages to Russian citizens.

Moscow also ordered the suspension of the visa-free regime for Turkish citizens as of January 1.

The government order included a halt on the activity of an intergovernmental trade commission and restrictions on Turkish transport companies, including a reduction in the number of large cargo-carrying trucks that would be allowed to enter Russia.

An official with Turkey's International Shippers Association, Fatih Sener, said on November 30 that some 1,250 Turkish trucks had been stopped at the border in the previous four days and were stranded, many of them carrying perishable goods from Turkey.

He said that Romanian, Bulgarian, Kazakh, and Moldovan trucks carrying Turkish goods had also been prevented from delivering their cargoes.

Some 50 percent of all Turkish exports to Russia go by land.

Putin announced on November 28 that sanctions would be imposed on Turkey.

With reporting by Reuters, TASS, Interfax, and AP

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