Russia prepares retaliation against Turkey
Russia is preparing a raft of retaliatory economic measures against Turkey after Ankara downed one of its warplanes, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday.
“The government has been ordered to work out a system of response measures to this act of aggression in the economic and humanitarian spheres,” Medvedev told a cabinet meeting in televised comments.
He said under Russian law the broad punitive steps could include halting joint economic projects, restricting financial and trade transactions and changing customs duties.
Measures could also target the tourism and transport sectors, labour markets and “humanitarian contacts”, Medvedev said.
The measures would then likely be listed in a decree from President Vladimir Putin, Medvedev said.
“In these documents the focus will be on introducing limits or bans on the economic activities of Turkish economic structures working in Russia, a limitation of the supply of products, including food products, and on the work and provision of services by Turkish companies and other restrictive measures,” Medvedev said.
“I propose doing all this in a period of two days so that we can move to setting up the appropriate procedures as quickly as possible,” Medvedev told government ministers.
Economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev did not rule out that the measures could hit two major projects with Turkey — the planned Turk Stream gas pipeline and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant — in a move that looked set to rattle cages in Ankara.
Energy-poor Turkey relies on Russia for over half of its natural gas imports and the two sides agreed to build the pipeline under the Black Sea.
Moscow has also started building Turkey’s first nuclear power station in the south of the country.
Tensions have soared between Moscow and Ankara following the downing of the Russian jet on the Syrian border on Tuesday.
Russia has already warned its nationals against visiting Turkey and stepped up controls of Turkish agricultural imports.
According to official data, in 2014 just under 4.5 million Russians visited Turkey, the most arrivals from any country other than Germany.
Russian authorities on Thursday said they were tightening checks on food imports over alleged safety standard violations.
The move could have a major impact on the economy of Turkey, which over the past 10 months has exported agricultural produce and food worth just over $1 billion (940 million euros) to Russia.