Russia imposes sanctions on Turkey over downed jet

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree enforcing economic sanctions against Turkey in retaliation for the downing of a Russian military jet near the Syrian-Turkish border. The statement posted on the Kremlin’s website cites national security, listing a ban on chartered flights between Russia and Turkey, and ordered tour operators to refrain from offering trips to Turkey. It also announced sanctions on Turkish goods, and restrictions on particular Turkish companies and their activities in Russia, and ordered the government to produce a list detailing which goods and companies would fall under the ban. The decree also mentioned strengthening of port control in Russia’s Black Sea region.

Turkey sells mostly food, agricultural and textile products to Russia, and a Kremlin spokesman reported after the jet crash that nearly 200,000 Turkish citizens may be located in Russia. Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said in an interview on state TV that Russia intends to substitute at least some of banned Turkish agricultural imports with products from Uzbekistan, the main supplier of perishable food products in Central Asia. Russian Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko stated that Russian soccer teams would be banned from signing Turkish players. He added that Turkish companies involved in construction of venues for the 2018 World Cup would be allowed to continue. Iran reported that it would not increase gas supply to Turkey in the event of shortages due to tense relations with Russia.

Putin signed the decree right before the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Russian officials stated they had been made aware of Turkish offer to have Putin meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the summit’s sidelines, but have not yet responded. Erdogan has not yet apologized for the downing of the jet, insisting that Turkey was within its full rights to protect its airspace. He cites repeated violations of Turkish airspace, but the jet was shot down when it was a mile inside the Syrian border. Russian officials have declined to release the jet’s flight path to the US.

Turkish analysts predict that the downing will complicate French-led calls for a coalition between NATO and Russia to resolve the political crisis in Syria. Putin continues to state that there was no legitimate reason to shoot down the jet, and that he perceived the action as a stab in the back from a potential ally in the fight against the Islamic State (IS). Russian media have launched a campaign attempting to link Turkey to IS, which controls large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq where a reported 10,000 citizens of Russia and other former Soviet countries are reported to be fighting for Islamic militant groups including IS.

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