Turkish minister says tonnes of food sent back by Russia

Turkish Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock says that Russia sent back about 160 tons of vegetables and fruits to Turkey following Russian announcement of sanctions on country

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkey’s Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock Faruk Celik speaks with members of the Mediterranean Exporters Union during a meeting in Ankara on Dec. 2, 2015.

Turkey’s Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock Faruk Celik said that Russia has sent back about 160 tonnes of vegetables and fruits to Turkey following the Russian announcement of a wide range of sanctions on the country.

Russia has decided to impose economic sanctions on Turkey after the country shot down a Russian fighter jet over an airspace violation in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border last week.

The incident has caused a political crisis between the countries which have strong economic ties with one another, leading Turkish and Russian leaders to issue warnings to one another.

Celik has stated that the banned food imports from Turkey have been valued at $764 million annually in total, adding that Turkey’s total food exports to the country are worth $1.270 billion annually, following a meeting with members of the Mediterranean Exporters Union in Ankara on Dec. 2.

Russian sanctions include productions of white meat, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, cucumbers, pickles, cauliflower, oranges, apples, pears, peaches, plums, shallots, strawberries, grapes, apricots, and  tangerines, which will be effective as of Jan. 1, 2016, according to the order which is published on the Kremlin's official website on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday said that the Turkish government is ready to reimburse its exporters in case of possible losses caused by Russian sanctions.

"I want to express to our business world that whoever is damaged by these sanctions, our measures to compensate them are already under way," Davutoglu said during an event held for the High Advisory Board Meeting of Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD).

Russia has also decided to place limits on the economic activity of Turkish companies and individuals in the country and encouraged travel firms not to sell package tours to Turkey.

Additionally, visa-free travel between Turkey and Russia has been ended.

Turkey and Russia disagree over how the Syrian civil war should be resolved as Turkey and the US-led coalition against ISIS have consistently called on Assad to step down and have backed Syrian opposition groups, while Russia and Iran have supported the regime since the beginning of the conflict.

The existing disagreement worsened following the start of high-level Russian military intervention into the Syrian conflict which has been strongly protested by US, Turkey and the NATO alliance.

Turkey’s downing of the Russian warplane further escalated political tensions.

The incident was the first time a NATO member country had downed a Russian warplane since the 1950s.

TRTWorld and agencies