Turkish Minister of Transportation Maritimes and Communications Binali Yıldırım said on Wednesday that Russia had violated international aviation rules by refusing to issue visas to Turkish crew members by an "arbitrary" measure.
Pegasus Airlines and Onur Air announced on Tuesday that they suspended their services to Russia temporarily as the authorities there began requiring visas for flight crew as of Jan. 1.
Pegasus said the suspension will continue until Jan. 13 and accused Russia of acting in defiance of International Civil Aviation Organisation rules.
Speaking at a news conference, Yildirim said “Turkey will use diplomatic channels to appeal to Russia to abide by international norms.”
According to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rules, visas are not required for crews on turnaround flights. These teams are allowed to stay in the related country for one or two days with special permits.
Tension between Moscow and Ankara has not been de-escalated since Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian warplane that violated Turkey’s airspace on Nov. 24 near the Turkey-Syria border.
Since then Russia has announced a number of sanctions against Turkey and unilaterally suspended its visa exemption rule for Turkish citizens as of Jan. 1, 2016.