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Russian Foreign Ministry: It's up to Turkey to decide on visa regime for Russians

December 23, 2015, 9:28 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia has unilaterally suspended its visa-free arrangement with Turkey from January 1, 2016

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© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, December 23./TASS/. It is only up to Ankara to decide whether to impose visa restrictions on Russian nationals going to Turkey, the Russian Foreign Ministry has nothing to do with this, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Dozhd television on Wednesday.

"The issue of Turkish visas is a question to be referred to the Turkish side," she said in reply to the question whether the possibility of Turkey imposing visa requirements for Russian nationals was discussed by the two countries’ foreign ministries.

Zakharova said there was no discussion on the matter at all. "It is the decision of a sovereign state how to pursue its visa policy," she noted.

Earlier, Russia suspended its visa-free arrangement with Turkey from January 1, 2016. Turkey has not taken the same measures.

Russian-Turkish relations soured after Russia’s Sukhoi Su-24 frontline bomber from the Russian air task force crashed in Syria on November 24, hit by an air-to-air missile fired from a Turkish F-16 fighter jet.

The Russian president said the downed Su-24 plane posed no threat to Turkey as it was carrying out an operation against the Islamic State terrorist organization outlawed in Russia, calling the attack "a stab in Russia’s back delivered by terrorists’ accomplices.".

Meanwhile, Turkey’s General Staff claimed that the Russian combat plane had violated the Turkish air space. "The attack by the Turkish Air Forde on the Russian SU-24 plane in Syria will have serious consequences for relations between Russia and Turkey," Putin said.

On November 30, the Russian government imposed an immediate ban on supplies of a range of food products from Turkey, suspended several governmental cooperation programs and limited employment of Turkish nationals within the Russian Federation.

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