Middle East

Turkey: Russia performs onerous on tourism in Ukrainian battle

Turkish tour operators, resort house owners and companies primarily based in Antalya on the Turkish Riviera, which employs many of the nation’s practically a million tourism employees, are deeply involved.

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Earlier this week, Russia suspended scheduled and constitution flights with Turkey till June 1, citing deep issues over the explosion of Covid-19 circumstances in Turkish cities, that are hitting practically 60,000 circumstances per day.

“We’re very involved that this ban might be prolonged, which might be actually harmful for companies,” Bulent Genc, ​​proprietor of a journey company in Antalya, informed Center East Eye.

“Everyone seems to be already in a horrible place since final yr because of the pandemic.”

Antalya hosts many of the Russian vacationers who go to the nation yearly.

In 2019, greater than seven million Russian vacationers visited Turkey and greater than 80% ended up in Antalya.

Every year they pump $ 4 to $ 4.5 billion to the Turkish financial system of revenue which is now essential because of the lack of international alternate reserves within the coffers of the Turkish Central Financial institution, with internet reserves of minus $ 47 billion in opposition to a backdrop of financial disaster.

Though Russian officers insist the transfer has nothing to do with politics, the transfer coincided with final weekend’s go to to Ankara by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who’s seeking to purchase extra armed drones. to Turkey.

The go to itself was fairly delicate, even though it was deliberate lengthy earlier than the present army tensions in jap Ukraine with the elevated deployment of Russian forces.

Turkish drones within the Donbass

Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan final weekend to debate the matter.

Nonetheless, the following day, Erdogan didn’t hesitate to sentence the Russian annexation of Crimea and mentioned that Turkey had all the time been a staunch supporter of Ukraine’s unity and safety.

He additionally referred to as for peaceable strategies resembling a diplomatic monitor to resolve the remaining tensions close to Donbass, a area hollowed out by Russian-backed separatists.

“Putin’s message was clear to Erdogan: don’t help Ukraine within the present wrestle in Donbass,” mentioned Timothy Ash, a outstanding monetary analyst who carefully follows Turkey and Ukraine.

“I suppose Putin warned him on Friday night time earlier than Zelensky’s go to, however Erdogan made the selection between Putin, Ukraine and NATO. He sided with Ukraine and is now paying the value. “

Antalya tourism graph

Turkish International Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu informed reporters on Tuesday that he didn’t consider there was any political motivation behind Russia’s transfer.

“Putin himself informed Erdogan it was a precaution purely associated to Covid. They had been involved concerning the fast enhance in Covid circumstances, ”he mentioned.

Nonetheless, this week, a senior Russian official mentioned that the emergence of Turkish drones within the Donbass was not something to write down dwelling about.

“Clearly, there’s little to rejoice on condition that Turkish drones, because the story goes, are surfacing someplace within the Donbass,” Russian Deputy International Minister Sergei mentioned. Ryabkov mentionned Tuesday.

Cavusoglu, in the meantime, mentioned Turkey has all the time been clear about its protection ties with Ukraine and Ankara’s determination to promote. a dozen TB2 Bayraktar drones was no secret in any respect.

Russian lifebuoy

This isn’t the primary time that Russia has used tourism and commerce to punish Turkey.

Putin restricted flights to Turkey and the import of Turkish vegatables and fruits in 2015 after the Turkish army shot down a Russian army aircraft, rocking the Turkish financial system on the time, leading to hundreds of casualties. jobs.

“This yr Russian vacationers are much more necessary as a result of now we have already misplaced two thirds of the tourism market because of the pandemic,” mentioned Genc, ​​the businessman.

‘Everybody in Antalya thinks this can be a political determination owed to Ukraine’

– Bulent Genc, ​​proprietor of a journey company

“The Russians had been the one ones left and had been a lifeline for a lot of firms. And they’re those who spend essentially the most per particular person within the nation. “

Sinan Ulgen, chairman of the Istanbul-based EDAM assume tank, believes Russia had politics and the pandemic in thoughts when it made the choice to droop Russian flights to Turkey.

“It might be naive to assume that Moscow had no political motivation vis-à-vis Ukraine to droop flights to Turkey,” Ulgen informed MEE.

“Nonetheless, it might be flawed to name this a purely diplomatic transfer, as additionally they have actual issues concerning the pandemic. They lately imposed related restrictions on flights to different nations. “

Both approach, Turkey’s efforts to persuade Moscow to compromise on the problem are ongoing.

Cavusoglu mentioned a Russian delegation would journey to Turkey to debate particulars of Covid-19 measures within the nation and certain discover a resolution, resembling permitting Russian constitution flights solely to sure cities, as Turkey has mentioned. made with Germany final yr.

“Everybody in Antalya thinks this can be a political determination owed to Ukraine,” Genc mentioned. “But when Russia resumes flights earlier than June 1, our loss could be 20% and we may survive it.”

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