Russia mulls expanding Turkish sanctions to manufactured goods

Russia mulls expanding Turkish sanctions to manufactured goods
By bne IntelliNews December 22, 2015

Russia's Ministry of Industry and Trade has submitted to the government a proposal for an import ban on up to 80% of Turkish manufactured goods, Prime reported on December 22, citing the deputy minister Viktor Evtukhov.

The proposal is designed to create a "favourable environment for Russian producers who are capable of substituting Turkish goods", Evtukhov said. He added that there was no indication yet if the government would adopt the measures, which would mark a new cycle in the conflict with Ankara over the November 23 downing of a Russian bomber on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Also citing unnamed sources in the Ministry of Economic Development tasked with revising or updated the sanctions against Turkey, newswires reported earlier that the government could expand the "special economic measures" against Turkey as of January 1, 2016.

Apart from the already implemented ban on imports of some fruits, vegetables and poultry types, a ban on Turkish migrant workers, and charter flights to Turkey, Russia is considering expanding the scope of economic sanctions on the country by targeting the hotel business, timber trade, pilot training and state purchases.

The aftermath of the destruction of the Su-24 bomber and accompanying deaths of two Russian military personnel has escalated to a point where President Vladimir Putin said it will be "practically impossible to come to an agreement with the current Turkish leadership". Referring at the time and three weeks later in his year-end press conference to a Turkish "stab in the back", Putin stresses that Russia has no intention of backing down in its response to the incident, which Moscow says was a pre-planned "ambush".

Economic consequences already included Russia's Federal Security Forces (FSB) reportedly raiding four Turkish banks to investigate suspicions of money laundering, Russia cutting quotas for foreign workers in 2016 to exclude numbers of Turkish labourers in the country, as well as short-term inflationary pressure that hobbled the central bank's monetary easing policy for some months.

Geopolitical buttons were also pushed, with Russia has reportedly agreeing to deploy 7,000 soldiers on the Armenian-Turkish border at the Armenian government's request, and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov intending to meet the leader of the left-wing pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party Selahattin Demirtaş.