ANKARA, Turkey, The Turkish government warned citizens against non-urgent travel to Russia, the latest in the mounting tensions between the two countries after the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey.
Turkey’s foreign ministry said non-urgent visits to the country should be avoided “until the situation becomes clear.” At the same time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Russia “not to play with fire” after reports dozens of Turkish businessmen were being expelled from Russia. Ankara said it will in turn expel more than 9,000 Russians in Turkey in the coming weeks.
Erdogan said he hopes to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris during the Global Climate Summit on Monday to restore communication between the two countries.
“What we tell Russia is ‘Let’s talk about this issue within its boundaries and let’s settle it. Let’s not make others happy by hurting our all relationship. I think the U.N. Global Climate Change Summit to be held in Paris on Monday could be an opportunity to restore our relations,” Erdogan said Saturday. Putin has not responded.
Tuesday, Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter jet near its border with Syria. Both pilots escaped the aircraft with parachutes, but one was gunned down by militants on the ground. Russia said the downing of the aircraft was “an act of aggression” that warrants retaliatory economic sanctions that include restricting tourist travel, suspending military communications and scrutinizing food imports.
The decision to tamp down Turkish travel to Russia comes after “residents 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,” the government said.