Russia begins deporting Turkish businessmen, seizing Turkish products
Moscow: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday called for tough sanctions against Turkey that could bite into more than $US30 billion ($41 billion) in trade ties between the two countries, as police here began seizing Turkish products and deporting Turkish businessmen.
Russian officials are seething after Turkish F-16s downed a Russian warplane over the Syrian border in a debacle that ultimately left two Russian servicemen dead. Turkey says that the Russian plane breached its airspace and was warned five times to turn back, charges that Russia denies.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the act as “a stab in the back from the accomplices of terrorists”, and on Thursday said in televised remarks that Turkey still had not apologised over the incident.
Balloons with a poster reading “drop dead damned prostitute!” fly outside the Turkish embassy in Moscow.
Balloons with a poster reading “drop dead damned prostitute!” fly outside the Turkish embassy in Moscow. Photo: AP
On Thursday, it became clear that the Russian government was now turning its ire on whatever extensions of the Turkish economy it could get its hands on.
At a cabinet meeting, Mr Medvedev said that joint investment projects with Turkey would be frozen or cancelled. Negotiations over a proposed preferential trade regime with Turkey would also be scrapped, he said. Mr Medvedev called for recommendations from government agencies to be submitted within two days.
“These documents will introduce restrictions and bans on the activity of Turkish economic structures in Russia, limiting deliveries of goods, including foodstuffs, labour, and services from Turkish companies,” Mr Medvedev said.
Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev at the same session said that economic sanctions would affect Turkstream, the planned gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey announced by Mr Putin last December, and the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, which it signed an agreement with Russia to build in May 2010.
He added that the sanctions may affect direct flights between Russia and Turkey.
Elsewhere, government agencies were busy. Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer oversight agency, announced it had seized 800 kilograms of “high-risk Turkish products”, including meat, sweets and nuts.
And in the southern Kuban region, Russia’s Migration Service said it had arrested and would deport 39 Turkish businessmen who attended an agricultural expo on tourist visas.
Analysts say that Russia will choose from a menu of asymmetric responses in retaliation against Turkey, including informal economic sanctions and providing military aid to Turkey’s enemies, including the Kurds.
“The consequences are going to be significant,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, a prominent Russian political analyst. Russia probably would not scale back its deployment in Syria because of the incident, he added.
The Russian Defence Ministry announced in a
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