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Russia bites back

Consequences fresh produce sanctions against Turkey unclear

Last week, Russia announced it wanted to impose economic sanctions against Turkey in retaliation for the downing of the Russian war plane. Last weekend, the Russian government published the list of measures, which still leaves many questions unanswered, and brings up new ones.

During the G20 summit in Antalya (Turkey) on November 15-16, Russian president Putin (left) and Turkish president Erdogan met. source: Kremlin

The Russian government imposes a limit on the import of "certain goods". What products will end up on this list exactly, remains unclear. In addition, a ban has been issued on "certain business activities" by Turkish companies on Russian soil. Restrictions have also been enacted on hiring Turkish employees, which is mainly expected to hit the construction sector. In that sector, Turkish companies have been making quite a bit of headway recently.

The newspaper Izvestia reports that the economic measures of the ban will be similar to that against Europe and the EU. The ban may affect chilled and frozen red meat and poultry, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole fish and seafood, reports the newspaper citing a source close to the Ministry of Agriculture. According to some reports, a complete list will be published today. The newspaper Vedomosti, citing a senior official also said: restrictions will be selective, the government is acting cautiously - in the light of the upcoming holidays. Especially as it has been reported that if imports from Turkey are not quickly replaced, prices will rise. The Ministry of Agriculture earlier promised that in the case of an embargo they would be able to replace entire production in the course of a week.

Ankara has criticised Moscow's position as cold blooded, Bloomberg quoted the prime minister Davutoglu. He recalled that Russia also has economic interests in Turkey. Earlier, he said that Ankara is leaving all channels of cooperation with Moscow open.

In terms of logistics, measures have also been taken. Charter flights between the countries are banned, Turkish transport business that operate in Russia are inspected more strictly, and customs was ordered to tighten inspections of Turkish ships in the ports at the Azov and the Black Sea.

Finally, there won't be any visa-free travelling for Turks to Russia, and tourist trips to Turkey are discouraged. This puts a stop to the flow of 4.5 million Russian tourists who travel to Turkey each year. Of all tourists visiting Turkey, twelve percent comes from Russia.

The sanctions remain in force until the situation changes. Russia also hinted that the sanctions could be tightened, for instance by postponing construction of a gas pipeline in the Black Sea, and construction of a nuclear plant.

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