Russia has imposed a few trade restrictions against Turkey, and promised the sanctions could just be the beginning of its retaliation over the latter shooting down one of its warplanes near the Turkey-Syria border. Russia insists Turkey must apologize for downing its jet, but Turkey’s prime minister has confirmed the country will never apologize for the incident as Russia’s plane ventured into Turkish airspace and the country responded as per protocol.
Maintaining that the military was “doing its job defending the country’s airspace,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu refused to apologize to Russia for shooting down a warplane that was operating in Syria, but ventured into Turkish airspace. In response, Russia has imposed economic sanctions on Turkey, despite knowing well that the trade restrictions are going to hurt both the countries, reported CNN. Essentially, Turkey still maintains that it acted in self-defense and has nothing to apologize for, he said.
“No Turkish prime minister or president will apologize… because of doing our duty. Protection of Turkish airspace, Turkish borders is a national duty, and our army did their job to protect this airspace. But if the Russian side wants to talk, and wants to prevent any future unintentional events like this, we are ready to talk.”
Turkish F-16 fighter jets intercepted a wayward Russian warplane on November 24 that had ventured into Turkish airspace, presumably while engaging targets in Syria. Turkey shares one of its borders with Syria, the country over which numerous nations have launched airstrikes to destroy the terrorist organization ISIS. The “crusader campaign,” in which multiple countries have been participating, has seen many airstrikes conducted by manned jets and unmanned drones. Russia mostly sends its jets that are manned by a two-man crew.
A similar jet, most likely a Sukhoi, which had ventured into the Turkish airspace, was shot down by the country. Turkey claims it followed protocol before shooting down the jet. The country insists it acted merely in self-defense. The incident has sparked intense tension between Russia and NATO, an organization of which Turkey is a member. Russia, on the other hand, maintains that the plane, which was shot down, didn’t intrude on Turkish airspace, reported ABC 15.
As a stern response for shooting down its jet, Moscow imposed restrictions of Turkish fruit and vegetables as part of a package of new sanctions which involves prohibition of travel and also severing ties with some Turkish companies that are doing business in Russia.
Though mutually detrimental, the trade restrictions may hurt Turkey more. Industry experts predict Moscow’s sanctions could bring down Turkey’s growth by half a percent. Incidentally, the latter’s economy is already slipping dangerously. Turkey’s currency, the lira, has already lost almost 20 percent of its value against the American dollar this year. Sanctions at this stage would be quite bad for the country.
Russia has previously banned food imports from the European Union and United States over the Ukraine crisis, reported the Salt Lake Tribune. As a result, Turkey’s exports to Russia jumped significantly.
Though Russia hasn’t yet released the items that would face trade restrictions, given the fact that Turkey’s major export to the northern country is fruit and vegetables, they have been targeted first, reported Bloomberg. With Russia refusing to import from the European Union and now imposing a trade embargo on Turkey, it is the local Russians who might have to brace for higher prices, fear experts. The inflation is already high in the country, grumble citizens.
Apart from the trade restrictions, Russia has terminated the privilege of visa-free travel for Turkey’s citizens. From January 1, 2016, Turkish citizens won’t be allowed to work in Russia. Anyone still interested to work for Russian companies will have to secure a special permission. Moreover, Russia has banned local travel agencies from offering trips to Turkey, and even disallowed charter flights to and from the country.
Despite the increasing sanctions, Turkey has stoically refused to apologize. Is the country right in doing so?
[Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images]