Hopes for a Russia-Turkey reconciliation are not as high these days as the Kremlin finally spoke about the matter saying that relations with Ankara is at its worst for the past decade. The tensions not only affect the political relations of both countries but it appears business has also struggled for the past months.
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that the relations between Russia and Turkey have been strained significantly that it is almost impossible to repair. “The relations have now hit their worst state in the past several decades. And we regret to conclude so,” RT quoted Peskov during a press conference. The official also added that Turkey has been dedicated “aggressively treacherous actions against Russia” in the last few months with special reference to the downing of Moscow’s war plane in November.
Political relations between the two countries deteriorated following the downing of the plane and Russia’s denial of airspace violation. Russia warned Ankara that it will face consequences because of the incident. “Turkey still has not given an adequate qualification to their actions and has not issued an appropriate apology. Therefore, to speak of the possible ways of normalizing the relations would be ill-timed,” added Peskov. What made matters worse is that Turkey did not correspond directly with Russia but instead reportedly contacted NATO to talk about what happened. Turkey maintained that it is just defending its sovereignty.
As with other political tensions, economy of both Turkey and Russia also suffer. According to a separate report by RT, there has been around US $23 billion turnover of trade since the fall out. Experts also expect the trade to fall further if things will not let up. “In January, the volume of Turkish exports to Russia fell by two-thirds, and there is also the so-called invisible exports – construction, tourism, transport – which amounted to $15 billion annually, including about $4.5 billion in tourism. These indicators will also fall sharply, as Turkey will miss millions of Russian tourists,” explained Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov.
“Antalya and neighboring provinces will suffer the biggest damage from the current state of our relationship. On the one hand, it is a center of tourism, and on the other, the region has been a major supplier of agricultural products to Russia…Turkish businessmen are very well-educated people and understand why they lost contracts in Russia, and with them billions of dollars,” the official added. The strained relations have also prompted Turkish bank owners in Russia to get out of the market or at least reduce presence.