Moscow’s sanctions against Ankara over the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey are now affecting various sectors of the Turkish economy, including tourism, construction companies and food exports, a new report says.
Russia’s relations with Turkey soured after the Turkish military shot down a Russian Sukhoi bomber plane on November 24, 2015. Ankara claimed that the warplane violated the Turkish airspace near the Syrian border, though Moscow denied the accusation.
In reaction to the incident, Moscow has imposed a series of sanctions against Ankara.
Russia has banned the import of Turkish fruits and vegetables, poultry and salt. It has also forbidden the sale of charter holidays to Turkey for Russians.
The sanctions also impose restrictions on Turkish firms willing to work on construction projects in Russia. Moreover, Turkish citizens working for companies registered in Russia are facing restrictions.
Russia has also stopped working on a new Black Sea pipeline that was to increase its gas exports to Turkey.
Turkish economist, Erhan Aslanoglu, said Ankara risks losing USD 3.5 billion annually in income from Russian tourists, who had long been flocking to Turkey’s Mediterranean resorts.
In 2014, Turkey was the second most popular holiday destination for Russians, attracting some 3.3 million tourists.
According to Aslanoglu, Turkey may also lose USD 4.5 billion each year due to the cancellation of its construction projects in Russia.
Regarding the gas export, Aslanoglu said, “If Moscow stops or delays the natural gas flow, that will definitely have a serious impact on the Turkish economy.”
Turkey relies on Russia for 55 percent of its natural gas and 30 percent of its oil.
The Russian ban on imported Turkish food is another blow to the economy, which, according to Turkey’s Agriculture Ministry, will mean losses of about USD 764 million each year.
“The crisis with Russia might affect citrus growers especially, but the government has promised to help them out with subsidies,” said Muhittin Baran, deputy head of Turkey’s Fruit and Vegetable Markets Association.
Russia is Turkey’s ninth largest export market at approximately USD 6 billion. Most of the trade involves food, consumer goods and textile products. Russian officials say they plan to replace produce imports from Turkey with those from Central Asian countries, Iran and Morocco.
Following the shooting down of the Russian plane, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin denounced the incident as “a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists,” saying that it would have “serious consequences” for Moscow-Ankara ties.
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