17:12 GMT07 July 2020
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    The Russians are not only trading partners for Turkey, but also friends and neighbors. Therefore, people in Turkey are ready to make any contribution to the normalization of relations between the two countries, head of the European-Turkish Tourist Board Hüseyin Baraner told Radio Sputnik.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to lift travel sanctions, which have negatively affected the Turkish tourism sector and the country's economy as a whole.

    "I am very happy about this step. After all, the Russian people are not only our customers and reliable trade partners, but also our neighbors, whom we have long had close friendship with," Baraner told Sputnik.

    "There can be ups and downs in our relations. But our friendship can overcome all these difficulties. I have always said that, even in the most difficult periods of our relations. Therefore, I strongly support and welcome steps to normalize our relations," Baraber added.

    According to Die Zeit, the sanctions imposed by Russia against Turkey after the incident with the Russian Su-24 have had dire consequences for the country's economy. Due to the cancellation of charter flights by Russian tourist firms, the number of Russian tourists travelling to Turkey fell by 91.8%.

    Turkey's "long-suffering" tourism industry hopes to "reap fruits" of diplomatic efforts to improve relations with Israel and Russia, Turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News wrote for its turn. The number of foreign tourists in the country, meanwhile, has reached a record low, the newspaper noted.

    The normalization of the relations between the two countries started earlier this week after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to Moscow apologizing for the downed plane and promising to take any steps to "relieve the pain and severity of damage" caused to the family of the pilot killed during the incident.

    The move caused a vivid reaction among Internet users and has been discussed in social media.

    "It quickly became clear who is the chief and who is the waiter. And it also became clear that Erdogan understands only one language: the hard language of political interests," wrote a reader under the nickname Teilzeitsarkast, commenting on Die Zeit newspaper's publication.

    "This is not a hypocritical policy of the bankrupt EU, but a direct one. Putin is one of the few politicians I respect. Finally, Erdogan knows where to find reliable partners," wrote another Internet user under the nickname PublicEnemyNo1.

    Turkish-Russian relations deteriorated after a Turkish F-16 fighter shot down a Russian Su-24 combat jet near the Turkish border in Syria on November 24, 2015. The jet was carrying out anti-terrorist operations in Syria. The crew of the plane ejected and one of the pilots, Oleg Peshkov, was killed by ground fire, while the second pilot survived.

    Following the incident, Russia imposed sanctions against Ankara. They effected a number of joint projects between Ankara and Moscow as well as the energy, trade, investment and especially the tourism industry.


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