21:52 GMT17 June 2021
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    ANKARA (Sputnik) - Ankara hopes for the visa regime with Russia to be canceled or simplified by the end of 2018, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sunday.

    "I think that the visas with Russia will be canceled, even if it will be done partially. Perhaps, by the end of this year, the two presidents will say during a telephone conversation or at their nearest personal meeting: 'Let's finally cancel visas,'" Cavusoglu said in an interview with the CNN Turk broadcaster.

    Russia introduced a visa regime for Turkish citizens after the deterioration of bilateral relations in November 2015, when Ankara downed a Russian military jet over Syria. Russia's retaliatory measures against Ankara included restrictions on the activities of Turkish organizations in Russia, a hiring freeze on Russian employers that want to employ Turkish workers and a ban on certain food imports since January 1, 2016.

    READ MORE: Turkey Not to Accept Language of Sanctions on Russian S-400 Supplies Deal — FM

    Bilateral ties began to improve following Turkey's apology in June 2016, and Moscow and Ankara's agreement to mutually lift the majority of restrictions on May 22 of the following year, but a visa regime for Turkish nationals remains in place.

    In early April, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Alexei Erkhov told Sputnik in an interview that Moscow was ready to discuss liberalizing visa regulations for certain categories of Turkish citizens, including businessmen and truck drivers. He expressed hope that the conditions for reinstating visa-free travel for Russian and Turkish citizens would come in the future.


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    visa regime, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey, Russia
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