Russia to issue visas to Turkish airline crews if they apply for them 'on time'
MOSCOW/ANKARA - Reuters
DHA PhotoRussia on Jan. 6 rejected a Turkish accusation that it was refusing to issue visas to crews of the Turkish budget carrier Pegasus, saying the airline should have applied for them earlier.
Moscow suspended visa-free travel for Turks from Jan. 1 as part of a range of sanctions after a Turkish jet shot down a Russian warplane near the Turkish-Syrian border on Nov. 24.
Turkish Transportation, Communications and Maritime Affairs Minister Binali Yıldırım accused Russia of violating international aviation rules by arbitrarily denying visas to Pegasus, which on Jan. 5 suspended flights to and from Russia until Jan. 13.
But the Russian Foreign Ministry said Pegasus had only applied for visas at the Russian consulate in Istanbul on Jan. 6 afternoon, and that Onur Air, which has suspended its flights to Russia until Jan. 14, had not applied at all.
In a statement, it said Russia had provided multiple one-year visas to 380 crew members and technicians at Turkish Airlines, which had "started tackling this problem on time ... and is now making flights according to schedule".