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    Turkish Public Reveals Fears Over Russia's Sanctions

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    US newspaper Christian Science Monitor spoke with Turkish people in Istanbul worried about the deterioration in relations between Russia and Turkey, and the effects of sanctions.

    US news organization Christian Science Monitor (CSM) has described the effect the decline in Turkish-Russian relations has had so far in Istanbul, visiting the city two weeks after Turkey's armed forces shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber over Syria.

    After the shooting down, which led to the deaths of two Russian servicemen, Russia produced evidence of the Turkish government's complicity with the Daesh oil trade, and support for radical Islamists in Syria.

    In response to Turkey's aggression, and the associated dangers for Russian citizens in Turkey, including the threat of terrorism, the Russian government banned tour operators from selling trips to Turkey, and ended charter flights between the two countries. 

    Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet
    © AP Photo / Anatolia, Kenan Gurbuz
    In addition, an import ban was imposed on Turkish agricultural products, and beginning in 2016 Turkish transport companies  will be prevented from transporting goods into and across Russia. From January 1, Turkish citizens will require a visa to come to Russia. 

    "Isn’t it an act of war when you shoot down the war plane of a super power like Russia?" one respondent, a café owner, told CSM.

    "It’s a mistake that is endangering Turkey. The downing of the plane and the problems with Putin are affecting us a lot – commercially, tourism-wise. When you see the possibility of conflict it affects the whole country."

    A salesman in a woman's clothes store who the newspaper spoke to was positive about the future; "I am not worried at all," he said.

    "It will never reach the stage of war."

    A jewelry shop owner shared his hope that the two countries will patch up some of their differences; "eighty-four percent of our business is with Russians," he said.

    "Turkey and Russia are best friends. They benefit from each other. The only way is to make amends."

    People buy Turkish fruit in a supermarket in Omsk, Russia
    © Sputnik / Alexey Malgavko
    People buy Turkish fruit in a supermarket in Omsk, Russia
    Around 3.3 million Russian tourists visited Turkey in 2014. The country imports almost 60 percent of its natural gas from Russia; the rest is supplied by Iran, Azerbaijan and Algeria. 

    In addition, Russia is one of Turkey's largest export markets, and its biggest for fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables from Turkey account for around 20 percent of imports, which will be replaced by imports from countries including Iran, Israel and Morocco, said Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev last month.


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