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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Putin orders sanctions against Turkey

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday called for sanctions against Turkey, following the downing this week by Turkey of a Russian warplane.

The decree published on the Kremlin’s website Saturday came hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had voiced regret over the incident, saying his country was “truly saddened” by the event and wished it hadn’t occurred.

The decree includes a ban on some goods and forbids extensions of labor contracts for Turks working in Russia.

It doesn’t specify what goods are to be banned or give other details, but it also calls for ending chartered flights from Russia to Turkey and for Russian tourism companies to stop selling vacation packages that would include a stay in Turkey.

In response, a senior Turkish official said sanctions like those Russia imposed only serve to deepen the problem between them.

“Sanctions like this would only damage relations. These steps do not make anything easier, but deepen the problem,” the official said.

Meanwhile, Erdogan’s expression of regret Saturday was the first since Tuesday’s incident in which Turkish F-16 jets shot down the Russian jet on grounds that it had violated Turkey’s airspace despite repeated warnings to change course. It was the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane and drew a harsh response from Moscow.

Earlier, Turkey advised its nationals on Saturday to postpone all non-urgent travel to Russia, the latest move in an escalating row between Moscow and Ankara over a Russian jet downed by Turkey on Tuesday.

NATO member Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement that following difficulties faced by Turkish visitors and residents in Russia, it advised Turks to postpone all non-urgent travel.

The ministry said it issued the warning because Turkish travelers were facing “problems” in Russia.

It said Turks should delay travel plans until “the situation becomes clear.”

Turkey’s downing of the Russian military jet Tuesday, the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane, has drawn a harsh response from Moscow.

Russia has since restricted tourist travel, left Turkish trucks stranded at the border, confiscated large quantities of Turkish food imports and started preparing a raft of broader economic sanctions.

Erdogan warned Russia on Friday not to "play with fire", citing reports Turkish businessmen had been detained in Russia, while Moscow said it would suspend visa-free travel with Turkey.
alarabiya.net (With AP, AFP and Reuters)

28/11/15

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