Turkey could hit Russian agricultural sector harder, but doesn’t: Minister
AA photoTurkey “could hit the Russian agricultural sector harder” than Russia’s sanctions have hit Turkey by canceling wheat imports from its northern neighbor but has chosen not to, Agriculture Minister Faruk Çelik said in a televised interview on Jan. 31.
Russia imposed economic and trade sanctions against Turkey amid a serious diplomatic crisis after a Russian warplane was downed by Turkey on Nov. 24, 2015.
“Russia has canceled fresh fruit and vegetable imports from Turkey as of Jan. 1. Russia originally imported around $750 million worth of fresh fruit and vegetables from Turkey annually. On the other hand, our imports from Russia in only one agricultural product, namely wheat, exceed $1.1 billion. If we halt wheat imports from Russia, we would hit the Russian agricultural sector [harder] than Russia does our sector. We however do not do this. It is not good to make farmers pay for what has happened,” Çelik said during an interview with Habertürk TV, as quoted by Reuters on Feb. 1.
Meanwhile, Turkey said a Russian warfighter violated Turkish airspace on Jan. 29, despite the pilot being repeatedly warned in both Russian and English. NATO and the United States confirmed the latest violation, with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg immediately urging Russia not to escalate tension by continuing its airspace violations. Russia has denied that it violated Turkey’s airspace on Jan. 29, just as it denied the violation on Nov. 24, 2015.