Moscow (dpa) – Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Saturday a slew of economic sanctions be imposed on Turkey, in retaliation for the downing of a Russian warplane over the Syrian border.
The package of measures bans the import of some goods from Turkey, prohibits employers from hiring Turkish nationals beginning next year, and suspends visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, the Interfax news agency reported.
File picture of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin
The decree signed by Putin also outlaws travel operators from selling tours to Turkey, a favourite destination for Russian holidaymakers, and bans charter flights between the two countries.
Russian officials had warned for days that Moscow would strike back for Tuesday’s shoot-down by Turkish forces, which left one of the Russian pilots dead after he was fired at by Syrian rebels as he parachuted to the ground.
Turkey says the Russian warplane violated its airspace, while Moscow says the Su-24 bomber never left Syria.
World leaders have urged the two sides to lower tensions, with many expressing concern that it could harm efforts to fight the Islamic State group and derail a fresh diplomatic push to broker a peace deal in Syria, which has been embroiled in a destructive multi-sided war for five years.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier urged Putin “not to play with fire,” saying the downing was not intentional but merely a result of the military’s rules of engagement, the Hurriyet Daily reported.
Erdogan said he was open to meeting with Putin when leaders gather in Paris next week for an international climate change conference. Putin has said he wants an apology from Erdogan.
Turkey, a NATO member, has previously warned Russia against incursions into its airspace during its operations against Syrian rebel forces and Islamist extremists.
Ankara backs the Syrian rebels, while Moscow in September launched an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s overstretched forces.
Both countries say they are striking targets of the Islamic State group, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq, and was behind the recent terrorist attack in Paris.