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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Russia sanctions Turkey over downed jet, will buy from Israel instead

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced sanctions against Turkey over the Russian jet that was downed by Turkish forces this past week.

The decree published on the Kremlin's website Saturday came hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had voiced regret over the incident, saying his country was "truly saddened" by the event and wished it hadn't occurred.

It includes a ban on some goods and forbids extensions of labor contracts for Turks working in Russia as of Jan. 1. It doesn't specify what goods are to be banned or give other details, but it also calls for ending chartered flights from Russia to Turkey and for Russian tourism companies to stop selling vacation packages that would include a stay in Turkey.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier in the week had ordered his cabinet to develop a list of goods to be sanctioned.

Putin's decree also calls for ending visa-free travel between Russia and Turkey and orders the tightening of control over Turkish air carriers in Russia "for security reasons." The decree was issued "to protect Russian citizens from crimes," a Kremlin statement said.
Earlier this week, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia will buy goods from Israel instead of Turkey.
In terms of filling the void, Israeli tourism providers have already begun selling the Jewish state as an alternative attraction for Russians seeking a break in the sun, and say deals are in the works.
Israel's tourism ministry has stepped up its game as well, investing $2.6 million in efforts to woo the Russian market.
As for food imports, Russia's Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev said his country would be replacing Turkish produce with goods from Iran, Israel and Morocco.
The minister officially sites healthy and safety concerns, but the timing of the announcement indicates it is politically-motivated.
Over the past 10 months Turkey imported agricultural produce and food worth just over $1 billion (one billion euros) to Russia, down 21.2 percent compared to the same period last year.
"Turkish vegetables account for 20 percent of the total Russian imports of vegetables. Import of vegetables, tomatoes in the first place, will be substituted with those from Iran, Morocco, Israel, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan," he told Russian media.
Turkey also accounts for a quarter of Russian citrus fruit imports, he said, adding that the country would similarly be switching to alternative providers.
"Turkey imports about 250,000 tons of citrus fruits, a quarter of the total citrus imported into Russia. We can replace citrus imports by supplies from South Africa, Morocco, China, Argentina, Israel, Abkhazia, Georgia," Tkachev stated.
Russia also said it could redirect its Turkish exports including wheat and oil to countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Over the past 10 months, Russian exports to Turkey amounted to $1.3 billion.
As long as that doesn't mean a price rise in Israel, that's fine with me, except that there are Jewish law issues with exporting the citrus crop this winter because it is considered produce of the Shmittah (Sabbatical) year.

In the meantime, the 'Palestinians' can cry me a river!

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