Russian Officials Push for Economic Sanctions Against Turkey

Aaron Favila/AP Photo//Kayhan Ozer, Presidential Press Service
Aaron Favila/AP Photo//Kayhan Ozer, Presidential Press Service

The Russian government began steps to push through economic sanctions against Turkey for downing a warplane on Nov. 24.

“The government has been ordered to work out a system of response measures to this act of aggression in the economic and humanitarian spheres,” explained Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

He continued:

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. 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.

Russia and Turkey share deep economic ties. After Turkey shot down the warplane, alleging it had violated Turkish airspace and refused to answer to warnings to leave, financial outlets suggested the incident could cause numerous economic problems for the NATO country.

Earlier this week, Medvedev warned that the many joint projects between the two countries could be in danger. The Turkish government “commissioned Russia’s state-owned Rosatom in 2013 to build four 1,200-megawatt reactors in a project worth $20 billion.” The TurkStream pipeline project could be affected as well, a project intended as a way to transport natural gas to Europe without going through Ukraine.

“There are a lot of Turkish companies operating in the construction business in the Russian market; there is cooperation in the tourism sector,” stated Dmitry Abzalov, the vice president of the Center for Strategic Communications. “The termination of relations with Moscow on these issues will be negative for the Turkish economy, and it will hit the national currency the lira.”

The Russian Ministry of Agriculture also declared their sector “would strengthen control over food supplies” and “perform additional border and production checks.” The Kremlin did not include Turkey in their Western food ban in 2014 in retaliation for the West’s sanctions on Russia following its aggression towards Ukraine.

“About 15 percent of Turkish agricultural products on average do not meet Russian standards,” said Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev.

In 2014, “4 percent of Turkey’s exports, mainly textiles and food, worth $6 billion went to Russia.” Turkey is also the “second-largest buyer of Russian natural gas after Germany.” The government purchases the most Russian wheat and steel semi-finished products in the world. Kremlin propaganda outlet Russia Today reported that Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia’s food safety regulator, “stopped a 162 ton shipment of chicken from Turkey for not having proper food safety certificates” on Wednesday.

Bloomberg said that Russian retailers are “bracing” to make changes at the last minute in case the Kremlin does enforce sanctions and rules.

“If needed, our grocery chain will make all the necessary efforts to change suppliers in a timely manner,” stated Russian retailer Dixy Group PJSC.

The Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) discovered in August that Turkey supplied Russia with 6,986 metric tons of broiler meat. The Federal Customs Statistics also said that “Russia imported $3.1 billion of goods from Turkey in the first nine months of the year.”

The Turkish government brushed away the threats as “emotional” and “unfitting.”

“At this point, there are some threats – ‘joint projects may be halted, ties could be cut.’ Are such approaches fitting for politicians?” retorted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.


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