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    Turkey Ready to Welcome Russian Tourists After Tourism Ban Lifted by Moscow

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    Turkey is ready to host guests from Russia following President Vladimir Putin's decree on the removal of restrictions on tourist travel to Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlet Cavusoglu said Friday.

    SOCHI (Sputnik) — On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree lifting restrictions on travel by Russians to Turkey, specifically a ban on charter flights to the country and a recommendation for Russian travel agencies to stop selling tour packages to Turkey.

    "The first tactical step taken by President Putin, he signed a decree which we are ready to implement. And my home town Antalya is ready to host Russian guests and I know that our Russian friends will be very happy to visit Turkey. Thus, the tourism agencies, travel agencies and airlines should prepare themselves as the decree is already signed and we have the will to implement it," Cavusoglu said following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, when asked how the work on restoring tourists numbers is progressing.

    The travel ban was a part of restrictive measures Moscow introduced against Ankara following the downing of a Russian Su-24 attack aircraft by a Turkish jet in November.

    On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret and send condolences for the November 2015 downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber in Syria by Turkey.

    On Wednesday, the two leaders held a phone conversation for the first time in more than seven months. Following the talks with Erdogan, Putin ordered the government to prepare to lift administrative restrictions against Turkey in tourism field.

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