Russia expects Turkey to punish those behind Su-24 downing and apologize

Moscow expects Ankara will punish those responsible for the downing of a Russian Su-24 aircraft and cover Russia's losses, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov said.

On November 24, Turkey downed the Russian Su-24 bomber over Syria. The pilot of the Russian plane was killed by gunfire from the ground after ejecting from the aircraft, while the co-pilot was later rescued. Turkey's claims that its airspace was violated by the Russian aircraft were refuted by Russia's General Staff and the Syrian Air Defense Command.

"We expect the Turkish side to make a formal apology, to punish those responsible and to provide reparations for damages suffered by our state," Karlov told RIA Novosti.

He added that the statements made by Turkey about Ankara's regrets concerning the incident were not sufficient.

Russian-Turkish relations deteriorated following the downing of the Russian Su-24. In response to this "stab in the back", as it was described by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Moscow has imposed a number of restrictive measures on Turkey.

The anti-Ankara restrictions include a visa regime, a food import ban on certain categories of products, as well as a ban on charter flights in both directions and limits on hiring Turkish employees.

“We have successfully developed our economic relations with Turkey and goods turnover topped $30 billion and upward to 4.5 million Russian tourists visited Turkey annually. At the same time there is a certain number of countries with which our relations haven’t developed for decades, but simply exist. This could be the same with Turkey if Ankara doesn’t change its position,” Karlov said.

"We believe that a mediator isn't needed. Our position toward the Turkish side is known and we have disrupted diplomatic relations, but both embassies in Moscow and in Ankara are working. If Turkey wants to take real steps in normalizing relations, then it has all the possibilities of doing so," Karlov added.

In late January, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara was eager to normalize relations with Moscow.

Turkish Exports to Russia in January Dropped Three Times

Turkish exports to Russia in January dropped threefold due to rocky relations between the two countries, the Russian ambassador to Turkey said.

“In January, the volume of Turkish exports to Russia fell threefold, but there are also ‘invisible exports’ such as construction, tourism, and [goods] transit that stand at $15 billion annually, including about $4.5 billion in the tourist industry. These figures have also drastically dropped,” Karlov told RIA Novosti.

He said the hardest hit Turkish region was Antalya due to its tourism industry and agriculture that was previously exported to Russia.

“Antalya and the surrounding provinces have taken the largest brunt from the current situation in our relations. On the one hand, this is the center of tourism, and on the other, this region was the main provider of agricultural production to Russia. We were buying around $1 billion of such goods in Turkey and in general, our trade in this sphere was constantly growing,” Karlov said.

In late January, the Russian Federal Customs Service said Russia was facing an increase in the amount of deliveries of banned products from Turkey through third countries.

he relations between Russia and Turkey have become more strained than in the past several decades, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.

According to Peskov, it is impossible to normalize relations between the two states as long as Turkey refuses to apologize for the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber that had been carrying out strikes on terrorist targets in Syria, Tass reported.

"The [Russia-Turkey] relations are now in the worst state they have been in the past few decades. And we are regret about it but emphasize that Russia is not responsible for it," Peskov told reporters.

The Kremlin spokesman added that Turkey had committed "treasonous acts of aggression" against Russia.

Relations between Ankara and Moscow deteriorated after the Russian plane had been downed by the Turkish Air Force for allegedly violating Turkey’s airspace. Both Russian and Syrian military officials confirmed that the plane had never crossed into Turkish airspace. In response to the incident, Moscow has imposed a number of economic restrictive measures against Ankara.