Turkey has signaled it would respond to Russia’s punitive measures that were announced by Moscow in the wake of downing a Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkish F-16 jets over Syrian border last week.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning for citizens on Saturday, urging them to postpone their visits to Russia unless absolutely necessary.
The statement cited increased difficulties Turkish travelers have been facing in Russia against the backdrop of the shooting down incident.
The ministry also notified that an emergency hotline was set up for citizens to report any developments with respect to Russia.
The advisory came after reports of Turkish citizens who were denied entry to Russia or allegedly mistreated by Russian officials during their stay in the country.
The passengers who were deported from Russia claimed that they were without food or water for hours, some of their belongings were stolen and they were kept in separate rooms.
The Turkish government’s move is seen as a counter-measure to Russia’s earlier call on its citizens to halt their travels to Turkey, citing security concerns.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that “due to continuing terrorist threats in Turkey, we reiterate our recommendation that Russian citizens refrain from visiting the Republic of Turkey, and we recommend that Russians staying there for personal reasons return home.”
The halt of tourism is set to harm Turkey more than Russia, however, because Turkey hosts some 4.5 million Russian tourists on annual basis, earning its economy some 4 billion U.S. dollars.
“The cost (of this tension) to Turkey is much more than the cost Russia will incur,” Lale Kemal, a security analyst in Ankara, said.
“The Turkish people and economy will get hurt from the negative results,” she added.
Menderes Turel, governor of the resort province Antalya where three million Russian tourists are spending their vacation, said he hoped ties with Russia will normalize soon.
“The Russian market is very important for Antalya,” he underlined, expressing that the losses due to cancellations of hotel reservations for winter tourism will be compensated once things go back to normal.
TRADING BARBS AMID CALLS FOR DEESCALATION:
Tensions run high between the two countries since Turkey shot down the Russian plane after allegedly strayed into Turkish airspace despite prior earnings. Moscow denied allegations of intrusion, saying the plane was in Syrian airspace when it was shot in a what it said pre-planned plot.
Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, have made it clear that Turkish-Russian relations would be severely affected unless apology and compensation were not offered by Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out the possibility of an apology although he expressed his sorrow over the incident. He told Russia not to “play with fire,” by escalating the tension.
On Saturday, speaking at a gathering in western province Balikesir, Erdogan called on Russia to work out differences between the two.
The Turkish president also noted that he and Putin could meet at a climate conference in Paris on Nov. 30 and resolve the tension.
Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov said on Friday that Putin has refused to contact the Turkish president because Ankara does not want to apologize for the downing of the Russian warplane.
“We have not yet received any clear apology from Turkey’s high political level, nor any proposal to compensate the harm and damage or promises to punish perpetrators of the crime,” the Russian president said earlier.
Erdogan continued his criticism of Russia on Saturday for supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, which he claimed as “illegitimate.”
He also vowed not to let any violation of Turkey’s sovereign rights.
Dogu Ergil, Turkish analyst, pointed out that many leaders of the world have suggested that both sides should resolve this tension mutually.
“The concerned parties will have to show restraint before the Middle Eastern imbroglio gets more entangled and more people are hurt,” he said.
“After all, aren’t we all fighting against terrorism and complaining about extremism?” Ergil added.
If Turkey and Russia are unable to resolve this issue, the tension is set to escalate further.
Russia has already announced a series of retaliatory measures against Turkey that included ban or restrictions on a number of joint projects with Turkey.
Turkey may be forced to respond in kind with further measures if the current tension is not resolved soon.
People of Turkey are good as gold its the puppets of Zionist government of Turkey that is the problem, why did they not take retaliatory action when Turkish aid flotilla was boarded by the Israelis killing Turkish citizens. Its clear that Erdogan is a Zionist puppet!!!!!!
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