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Turkey advises citizens against non-urgent travel to Russia

Turkish foreign ministry cites problems faced by Turks in Russia as it advises citizens to wait 'until the situation becomes clear'
A protester holds a poster depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and reading 'Putin, killer!' during a demonstration against Russia on 17 November 2015, in in Istanbul (AFP)

Turkey's foreign ministry on Saturday warned that non-urgent travel to Russia should be avoided in the latest escalation of a row between Moscow and Ankara following the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey.

Citing problems faced by Turks in Russia in the wake of the plane incident which sparked anti-Turkish demonstrations in Moscow, the ministry said non-urgent visits to Russia should be avoided "until the situation becomes clear."

"Within the framework of the recent developments in Turkey-Russia relations, it has been observed that our citizens have been having some difficulties with their trips to the Russian Federation and their residence within the said country as of November 24,” the ministry said in a statement Saturday.

"Until this situation is cleared, we advise our citizens to delay non-urgent and non-significant trips to the said country," it added.

Tuesday's incident, one of the most serious clashes between a NATO member and Russia, sparked a crisis in relations between the two countries.

Russia announced it was halting a visa-free regime for Turkish visitors, after threatening a raft of retaliatory economic measures to punish the NATO member state.

Turkey says the Su-24 warplane strayed into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings, but Russia has insisted it did not cross the border from Syria.

At least 26 Turkish businessmen were taken into police custody in Russia's Black Sea city of Krasnodar late Wednesday, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

Five of the group returned to Turkey on Saturday morning, Anadolu Agency reported.

The Turkish embassy in Moscow has issued an advisory to its citizens in Russia, requesting them to carry their passports and ensure their visas and permits are valid.

The embassy also reiterated that they should "meticulously obey the rules in Russia and warnings from the Russian authorities."

However, Russia has recommended its citizens in Turkey return home.

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said late on Thursday that it wanted its citizens not to travel to Turkey because of a perceived "terror threat".

"We recommend our citizens residing in Turkey for special reasons to return to Russia," the ministry said in a statement.

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