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From Flying to Flagging: Economic Troubles Force Turkey Into Compliance

© AP Photo / Emrah GurelTurkish Liras, Euros and U.S. Dollars are stacked at a currency exchange office in Istanbul, Turkey (File)
Turkish Liras, Euros and U.S. Dollars are stacked at a currency exchange office in Istanbul, Turkey (File) - Sputnik International
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While Russia was hardly affected by the months long conflict with Turkey, Ankara felt the pinch of Moscow's sanctions, above all in the fields of tourism and agriculture. Now that the difficult times are over, Turkish businessmen are looking for ways to return to the Russian market.

Gas compensation

First quarter Russian gas exports to Turkey shrank by 18 percent year on year, which apparently prompted Ankara’s desire to move ahead with the construction of the first leg of the Turkish Stream pipeline.

A Turkish flag flies on a ferry as Russian warship the BSF Saratov 150 sails through the Bosphorus off Istanbul en route to the eastern Mediterranean sea on September 26, 2015 - Sputnik International
Russia-Turkey Talks on Trade Cooperation to Start Soon – Kremlin Aide
According to Russia’s Federal Border Service, January-May trade turnover between the two countries stood at $6.1 billion, which is 42.8 percent below last year’s figure.

Due to the sanctions imposed by Russia, Turkish exports to the country during the same period were 44.2 percent down from the 2015 figure, compared with a 40.4 percent drop in Russian exports to Turkey.

Despite such a serious drop Turkey still remains one of Russia's top ten trade partners after China, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and the US.

Grain went to Egypt

Russia’s grain exports to Turkey also nosedived, mainly due to the 2015 bumper crop in Turkey, which allowed Ankara to cut its imports of Russian grain by a hefty 44 percent. As a result, Egypt emerged as the number one buyer of Russian grain (more than 4.6 million tons worth over $862.4 million.)

Experts are optimistic about the prospects of Russian grain exports to Turkey. According to June figures released by electronic exchange Agro2b,

Turkey has virtually caught up with Egypt in the volume of grain imported from Russia’s southern seaports (103,100 and 113,700 tons correspondingly.)

Fruit and vegetable lobby

As for Turkish agricultural exports to Russia, here Ankara clearly found itself at the losing end with “sanctioned” produce accounting for $1 billion of the total of $1.3 billion.

According to Russian statistics, Turkish vegetable exports to Russia were hit the hardest by sanctions with the January-May sale of tomatoes contracting by 32.1 percent, potatoes by 57.8 percent, onions by 49.5 percent and cucumbers by 31 percent.

This is why Ankara has been trying hard to have the sanctions lifted ever since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologized for the November 2015 downing of the Russian bomber in Syria.

A final decision to this effect is expected during President Erdogan’s August 9 meeting with President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg.

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