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Russia PM: Ankara holds strange position, refusing to apologize for Russian plane downing

November 30, 2015, 15:25 UTC+3 GORKI
Russia’s government may expand the list of commodities banned for importing to Russia, and impose other restrictive measures against Ankara
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© Dmitry Astakhov/Russian government press service

GORKI, November 30. /TASS/. The Turkish leadership continues to hold a strange position, refusing to apologize for the downing of a Russian combat plane, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting with vice-premiers on Monday.

"Unfortunately, the Turkish leaders are holding a very strange position. It has just been reported that the Turkish premier hopes that Russia will revise its response measures over the incident with the downed plane. And, at the same time, he has said that Turkey will never apologize for this incident. Comments are needleless," Medvedev said.

According to Medvedev, Russia’s government may expand the list of commodities banned for importing to Russia, and impose other restrictive measures against Ankara.

"The measures that will be now included in the draft decree are only the first step. We’ll see how things will unfold. Within the Presidential decree we can expand the list of commodities to be banned, expand the group of persons to be banned for entering Russia, and take other measures aimed at limiting and winding cooperation with the Turkish Republic," Medvedev said, adding that "this all will be done if needed."

PM also called for "avoiding problems and imbalances" amid implementation of the Presidential decree and the government resolution and to make corrections if needed, adding that "this is a tough process, which needs to be managed."

"Finally, we hope the measures will have the intended effect. Those measures are not aimed against Turkish citizens but will only further addressing problems outlined in the Presidential decree," Medvedev said.

The official however stressed that Russia’s restrictive measures against Turkey are a forced response to acts of Ankara.

"I would like to make a point once again these are our counter and forced measures we undertake exclusively for the purpose of ensuring security of our people and as a response to Turkey’s aggressive behavior. They became the response exactly to such hostile acts," Medvedev said. Restrictive measures cover a significant portion of economic relations between our countries, he said.

"Therefore we will act pragmatically, so that decisions taken by us are highly sensitive for the Turkish side, with minimal exposure to our economic interests," the prime minister said. "This is an issue of management how to combine that," he added.

No decision to restrict light industry imports from Turkey

Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Evtukhov said Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry has not taken the decision to restrict imports of light industry products from Turkey yet.

"So far no decisions on Turkey (with regard to light industry) have been taken, the issue is under discussion," - he said.

Russia will limit road transportations by Turkish companies from 2016

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said on Monday Russia will introduce limitations on road transportations by Turkish companies from 2016ю

"The restrictions are planned for road transportation by Turkish companies. Currently, they receive about 8,000 transport permits. This is the annual number (of permits - TASS). It is proposed to reduce it immediately by four times from the next year - up to 2 million, with an option to zero this number later on," - Dvorkovich said.

When commenting on this proposal, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that "it is sensitive".

Dvorkovich added that the government is about to complete the work on legal details of this restriction.

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov noted that Turkish goods that are not critical for the Russian economy will be covered by sanctions.

"This is being done for the Turkish economy to feel negative consequences. That’s why groups of commodities that take a substantial place in Turkish exports are being used as a basis. Restrictions of this Turkish exports will not be critical for Russian consumers, which means we’ll either be able to replace (it) within the Russian Federation by producing respective products or acquire it on other markets," Shuvalov said.

Meanwhile restrictive measures that will be introduced against Turkey largely cover agricultural products while manufactured goods are not included into the list of goods under sanctions yet. "These are broadly agricultural products. The proposal is not to include restrictive measures against manufactured goods at the moment. The government can always expand the list if necessary," Shuvalov said.

"We’ve attentively examined the whole export map of the Turkish Republic regarding manufactured goods. I would not say it is strongly linked to the Russian market and therefore we should probably refrain for the time being from such decisions (restrictions on Turkish export of manufactured goods)," Shuvalov said.

He added that Russia’s Agriculture Minister has confirmed at a government meeting earlier on Monday that the measures will trigger development of local production regarding separate fruits and vegetables.

Shuvalov also said Russia is already receiving offers from other countries on potential additional supplies of agricultural products to the market.

He said Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich together with Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade are working on efforts to avoid food deficit in chain stores. In case Turkish supplies of those products to Russia are suspended they should immediately be purchased from other countries.

Turkey not planning retaliation to Russian sanctions

 Ankara is not planning tit-for-tat measures against Moscow that introduced sanctions after Turkey downed the Russian bomber last week, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday.

"We are not planning to respond by sanctions against the Russian people for the Russian restrictions. We hope that the Russian citizens will continue coming as tourists to Turkey where they feel like at home," Davutoglu said ahead of a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Turkey, like Russia, has been always against unilateral economic sanctions and proved this by its stance on the Ukrainian conflict, he said. "That’s why we regret that Russia has chosen another way."

Russia imposes sanctions against Turkey 

On November 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree envisaging bans on or restrictive measures against imports of certain goods from Turley in line with the register approved by Russia’s government.

Russia suspends imports or "restricts foreign economic operations envisaging imports to the Russian Federation of certain goods originating in the Turkish Republic in line with a register determined by the government of the Russian Federation (exclusive of the goods brought into the Russian Federation for individual use in the amounts permitted by the laws of Eurasian Economic Union)," the decree says.

"For purposes of protecting national security and national interests of the Russian Federation, protection of the citizens of the Russian Federation from criminal or any other illegal activities," the decree stipulates bans or restrictions for organizations under Turkey’s jurisdiction to conduct certain types of activity within Russia in line with the register drafted by Russia’s government.

The government is instructed to draft registers for relevant goods and services.

Besides, the decree suspends employment of Turkish nationals starting from January 1, 2016.

The president ordered to agencies of power, legal entities, organizations and individuals to proceed from the fact that Russia "imposes a provisional ban for employers and labor (or services) customers that are not included in the register determined by the Russian government to get involved in the labor activities (in providing services) starting from January 1, 2016 the workers from the Turkish Republic who are not engaged in labor or civil law relations with the companies or customers concerned as of December 31, 2015."

The government was instructed to determine a register of the employers or customers concerned and to "determine a register of contracts concluded with organizations under jurisdiction of the Turkish Republic for delivering goods or providing services not subject to special economic restrictions envisioned in the given decree."

Turkish fighter shoots down Russian bomber

Relations between Russia and Turkey hit a low after the incident on November 24 when a Turkish F-16 fighter jet brought down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber, which, Ankara alleges, violated the country’s airspace near the Syrian border. The Russian Defense Ministry said the warplane was flying over Syrian territory and had never violated Turkey’s airspace.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Turkey’s attack will have "serious consequences" for Russian-Turkish relations. Putin said Ankara’s attack against the Russian Sukhoi Su-24 plane, which took part in Russia’s antiterrorism operation in Syria and did not present a threat to Turkey, was a "stab in Russia’s back" delivered by terrorists’ accomplices.

On Sunday, Putin signed a decree on a provisional ban on employing Turkish citizens in Russia as of January 1, 2016. The same decree suspends visa-free traveling between the two countries and imposes restrictions on the imports of certain commodities from Turkey.

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