Europe

Russia plans sanctions against Turkey over jet downing

  • 26 November 2015
  • From the section Europe
  • comments
Related Topics
Media caption'We need to finish our task'

Russia is preparing wide-ranging economic sanctions against Turkey after Turkey downed one of its military jets on the border with Syria.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the measures would be drafted within days, and could hit joint investment plans.

Also on Thursday, Russia's military suspended all communication channels with the Turkish military, including a "hot line" to help avoid air accidents.

Turkey says the plane violated its airspace - charges Russia denies.

Russia has sent troops and aircraft to Syria to back up the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad in the civil war.

Media captionIn the audio recording from the Turkish military, a voice can be heard repeatedly saying ''change your heading south immediately''

Turkey has been strongly critical of Mr Assad since the war began in 2011.

Tensions between Turkey and Russia have risen sharply. The US, the EU and the UN have appealed for calm.

Media captionPresident Putin: ''Russia and France know what it means to co-operate''

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin met his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Thursday and pledged Russia's support for a grand coalition in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS) militant group.

The leaders said they had agreed to increase the exchange of intelligence and military information, step up co-ordinated air strikes against IS and make greater efforts to avoid targeting other rebel groups "ready to fight terrorism".

IS controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq and claimed the attacks in Paris earlier this month.

Where key countries stand on the Syrian conflict


Image copyright AFP

Russia's culinary diplomacy

Russia is tightening controls over food imports from Turkey, saying that 15% of the produce does not meet its standards. This is not the first time Russia has used food safety as a means of expressing its anger at a foreign state:

  • Georgia wine - Banned in 2006 citing health risks at the same time as Georgia was revealing a more pro-Western stance and ambitions to join Nato
  • Ukraine chocolate - Confectionary banned in 2013, again citing health standards, as Ukraine sought closer Western ties
  • Western produce - In 2014, destroyed mountains of cheese, bacon, fruit and other produce imported from Western nations in anger at EU-US sanctions over the Ukraine crisis

Russia mixes food and foreign policy


Turkey and Russia have important economic links. Russia is Turkey's second largest trading partner, while Turkey is the biggest foreign destination for Russian tourists.

Mr Medvedev said: "The government has been instructed to work out a system of economic and humanitarian measures in reaction to this act of aggression."

He said the focus would be on "the introduction of bans and restrictions with respect to the activities of Turkish economic structures on Russian territory" such as "shipments of goods including food" and "on works and services provided by Turkish companies".

"The same rules may apply to a whole range of investment projects," he also said. "Co-operation on them with Turkey was determined by a high level of trust with that country."

Russia has also advised its nationals against visiting Turkey, and urged those already there to return home "due to the terrorist threats that remain on Turkish territory".

The Russian SU-24 plane crashed into a mountainside on Syrian soil after being hit by a missile from a Turkish F-16 fighter jet.

One pilot was killed. The other one was rescued during a mission in which another Russian soldier was killed.

The Turkish military says the plane was warned 10 times over the space of five minutes to change direction before being shot at 17 seconds after it entered Turkish air space.

The surviving Russian pilot said Turkey had given no warning.


After Paris: the fight against Islamic State

  • Belgian authorities reduce threat level in Brussels - alert downgraded after week of lockdown that saw schools closed and soldiers deployed
  • Russia prepares sanctions against Turkey - Russia to introduce wide-ranging economic sanctions after Turkey shot down Russian jet
  • Germany to deploy Tornado jets against IS - Angela Merkel pledges reconnaissance jets to help French air campaign against IS in Syria
  • Police in Berlin arrest two suspected Islamists - arrests made and mosque searched in the city's Charlottenburg district in response to an "actual threat"
  • Angela Merkel says Germany will "act quickly" - German chancellor tells Francois Hollande it is country's "duty" to support France's anti-IS fight

President Putin earlier complained that Russia had not received "a clear apology" from Turkish leaders, nor any offer of compensation or promise to "punish the criminals" over the downing of the jet.

"One gets the impression that the Turkish leadership is deliberately driving Russian-Turkish relations into a dead end," he said.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been defiant, saying his country does not need to apologise for violations of its airspace. However, he told France 24 television: "If we had known it was a Russian plane, maybe we would have warned it differently".

Turkey is a member of Nato. The alliance has backed Turkey's version of events, although it too is calling for "diplomacy and de-escalation" to resolve the situation.