Putin officially lifts Turkey tourism ban
MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
REUTERS photoRussian President Vladimir Putin has officially lifted restrictions on tourism in Turkey after mending ties with Ankara over its downing of one of Moscow’s warplanes.
Putin signed a decree on June 30 lifting a ban on the sale of package tours in Turkey and ordered the government to allow charter flights to start flying to the country again.
The move signals a rapid reversal after seven months of acrimony between Moscow and Ankara over the downing of a Russian fighter jet in Syria last November.
Putin pledged on June 29 to lift the sanctions after speaking by phone to his counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for the first time since the incident.
The Kremlin strongman has also ordered the government to normalize trade ties with Turkey, in a move that should see an embargo on some Turkish food lifted soon. The downing of the Russian plane near the Turkey-Syria border slammed the brakes on burgeoning relations between Moscow and Ankara and sparked a bitter war of words between the leaders.
The diplomatic breakthrough came after Erdogan on June 27 sent a letter to the Kremlin leader that Moscow said contained an apology over the downing of the jet in November.
The crisis in relations with Moscow had dealt a blow to Turkish tourism, with the number of Russian tourists drastically declining in holiday resorts along the Mediterranean coast.
The lifting of Moscow’s package tour ban came after Turkey was hit by a triple suicide bombing at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport on June 28 which left at least 44 people dead.