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Russian official says Russian tourism flow to Turkey unlikely to resume

December 23, 2015, 18:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Alexey Pushkov noted that Turkey remains a transit country for the IS terrorist organization, and terrorist attacks against Russian citizens cannot be ruled out
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Tourists in Bodrum, Turkey

Tourists in Bodrum, Turkey

© AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. Russian State Duma’s International Affairs Committee chairman Alexey Pushkov has said Wednesday he does not see any prospects of resuming Russian mass tourism and charter flights to Turkey in the foreseeable future.

"Talking about Turkey, I do not see any prospects of returning to the previous situation," Pushkov told a press conference.

The official noted that Turkey remains a transit country for the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization. "No one can rule out terrorist attacks against Russian citizens since we take part in military actions against IS," he noted.

Pushkov stressed that apart from general deterioration of relations between Russia and Turkey, "the Turkish government has still not closed its border with territories in Syria controlled by IS." "I think that this rules out lifting or easing restrictive measures against Turkey in the foreseeable future," he said.

Talking about falling tourism flow from Russia to Egypt, Pushkov said he hopes "the ban is temporary." "Much depends on ensuring security. The Russian government takes a rather flexible position here. Egypt is a country with which we maintain very good relations. I hope that the ban is temporary if the authorities are able to oust IS representatives and eliminate their activities on the territory of Egypt," he concluded.

Downing of Russian jet

The relations between Moscow and Ankara deteriorated after the Turkish Air Force’s fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24M bomber on November 24. Ankara claims the Su-24M bomber violated the Turkish air space in the area of the border with Syria. However, Russia’s Defense Ministry has said the Su-24M plane stayed exclusively over the Syrian territory and "there was no violation of the Turkish air space."

The crew of the Su-24M bomber managed to eject but one of the pilots, Oleg Peshkov, was killed by gunfire from the ground. The second pilot, Konstantin Murakhtin, was rescued and taken to the Russian air base. During the operation to evacuate Su-24M pilots a Mi-8 helicopter was lost. Marine Alexander Pozynich was killed in the operation.

Putin described the downing of the Russian jet that took part in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria and did not present a threat to Turkey as a "stab in the back." He warned about "serious consequences" for Russian-Turkish bilateral relations.

On November 28 Putin signed a decree that suspends employment of Turkish workers starting from January 1, 2016. Also, Russia suspends the visa-free travel agreement with Turkey, imposes bans or restrictions on imports of certain goods. Besides, travel agencies are advised against selling holiday packages to Turkey. The government is instructed to tighten control over activities of Turkish haulage companies with the goal of ensuring security within Russia.

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.

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