Turkish delight? Not quite, for Russia

President Vladimir Putin’s latest sanctions spell complete prohibition of all things Turkish…

“Checkmate” Russia’s President Putin tells Turkey. Photo Credits: www.wikipedia.org

Russian President Vladimir Putin today announced new economic sanctions agains Turkey. These sanctions are Russia’s response to Turkey’s downing of the its military jet over Syrian borders earlier this week.

President’s Putin’s new and extremely severe decree, which will curb all social, financial and trade relations with Turkey, is sure to have resounding repercussions on both countries’ economies. Imports and exports between both countries are to end completely, and all charter planes that fly between Russia and Turkey will stop operations altogether. Tourism will, no doubt, be impacted, with Russian travellers already taking stands all over social media, making a big noise about how they intend to boycott Turkey’s beaches and sandy resorts. Given that Russia is Turkey’s second largest trading partner after Germany, and over 3 million Russians visit Turkey on holiday every year, this move will indeed rock both economies in a rather unprecedented fashion. And to make matters worse, Russia has also suspended its visa-free travel arrangements with Turkey.

Moscow has further announced that Turkish companies and Turkish employees of Russian companies will have to pack up their businesses and move out by January 2016. President Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov is believed to have revealed that, “There are currently approximately 90,000 Turkish nationals have jobs in Russia. If one were to include family members as well, this number would probably be close to 20,000.”

According to a report by BBC, Turkey has exported food and agricultural produce worth over €1bn (£702m) to Russia already this year, and Russia says 20% of its vegetable imports come from Turkey. Turkey’s Anadolu Agency says exports of leather, textiles and clothes to Russia were worth more than $1.52bn (£1bn) last year. In addition to all this ,Turkey bought 57% of its gas from Russia in 2013, and last year it became the second largest consumer of Russian gas after Germany.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had refused to apologise to Russia thus far, and now called for a meeting with President Putin to further discuss the new decree.

Which brings me to wonder: are we not already in some sort of World War III? No, countries aren’t flying around dropping nuclear warheads on each other, and thank God for that. [Because according to the International Campaign for Abolishing of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), nine countries together possess more than 15,000 nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia maintain roughly 1,800 of their nuclear weapons on high-alert status — ready to be launched within minutes of a warning. Most are many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.]

Instead, we’re shooting down planes, closing our borders, cutting relations, forming coalitions, having huddled discussions in ally countries, funding terrorism and step-mothering other countries in need of ‘help’ — while each one waits with bated breath for the other to make the move; for the penny to actually drop; for a soft whisper to say, “Checkmate” and press the button.

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