Russia fires economic broadside after Turkey downs jet

#TurkeyAtWar

Kremlin demands apology for 'criminal' attack on Russian plane, and says it has prepared a raft of economic measures in retaliation

Turkey said it shot down the Russian plane for violating its airspace (AA)
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Last update: 
Thursday 26 November 2015 15:23 UTC
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Russia has demanded an apology from Turkey and said it would hit back with a raft of economic measures against Ankara over the shooting down of a Russian military jet on the Turkey-Syria border.

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he had received no "articulate apologies" from Turkish leaders, "nor any proposals to compensate for the harm and damage, nor promises to punish criminals responsible for their crimes".

Russia's prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, later said that the Kremlin was preparing a raft of retaliatory economic measures in response "to this act of aggression in the economic and humanitarian spheres".

Medvedev said: "The focus will be on introducing limits or bans on the economic activities of [Turkey] in Russia, a limitation of the supply of products, including food products, and on the work and provision of services by Turkish companies."

"I propose doing all this in a period of two days."

The comments increase the pressure on Turkey for its shooting down of an Su-24 fighter bomber it said had violated its territory despite 10 warnings on Tuesday. The pilot was killed and the navigator rescued.

And they come hours after the Russian government said it was tightening controls over Turkish food imports, with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev saying levels of pesticides, nitrates and nitrites in 15 percent of imports were "considerably above safe limits".

"The Russian government [will] reinforce control over supplies of... food from Turkey," he said, adding it would "organise additional checks on the border and production sites in Turkey".

Putin earlier this week labelled Turkey an "accomplice of terrorists", suggesting that the country was supporting the Islamic State group by buying its black market oil.

In response on Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan challenged Russia to prove its claims. "Shame on you," he said. "Those who claim we buy oil from Daesh are obliged to prove it. If not, you are a slanderer."

Erdogan's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, meanwhile said there would be no apology "on an occasion that we are right", but added that "we said on the phone yesterday that we are sorry".

Russia said earlier this week that it would not consider military action as a response to the attack, but has warned of "serious consequences". 

The Kremlin also on Thursday urged Russian nationals in Turkey to return home due to "terrorist threats", days after it said its citizens should not visit due to "safety concerns". 

Nearly five million Russian tourists visited Turkey in 2014, bringing in billions of dollars for the Turkish economy.

According to the Kremlin, Turkish products account for a quarter of citrus fruit and a quarter of vegetable imports into Russia.

Russia also said it could also redirect its Turkish exports, including wheat and oil, to countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Erdogan earlier this week said he does not want an escalation with Moscow, while the Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called Russia a "friend and neighbour".

Moscow is no stranger to engaging in economic wars. Last year it banned EU food imports and removed thousands of products from Russian shops after Brussels imposed sanctions over the annexation of Crimea.