December 14, 2015

Russia’s Sanctions Against Turkey

On 28 November 2015 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an Executive Order On Measures to Ensure the National Security of the Russian Federation and the Protection of Citizens of the Russian Federation against Criminal and Other Illegal Acts and on the Application of Special Economic Measures Against the Turkish Republic.

The order introduced the following temporary measures on the territory of Russia:

  • An import ban on certain Turkish-origin products (except the goods for personal use imported by individual travellers within the limits allowed by the legislation of the Eurasian Economic Union), and prohibition on Turkish companies to perform certain work and services inside Russia - the list of banned products and that of restricted types of work and services are to be determined by the Government.
  • Suspension of visa free entry of Turkish citizens into Russia as of 1 January 2016.
  • Prohibition on Russian travel companies from selling travel tours to Turkey.
  • Prohibition as of 1 January 2016 of employment by Russian legal entities of Turkish nationals, unless already employed as of 31 December 2015, or unless the Russian employer is included in the special list to be adopted by the Russian Government.

The Government was also given instructions to take measures to introduce a ban on charter flights between Russia and Turkey; to enhance control over the activity of Turkish tracking companies on the Russian territory to ensure security; to enhance port controls and monitoring of the transportation safety in the waters of the Russian ports on the Black and Azov seas.

The Executive Order comes into effect on the day of its official publication and remains in effect until the special economic and other measures established thereunder are cancelled.

Government decision

On 1 December the Government approved a resolution on Measures to implement the President's Executive Order, on Measures to Ensure the National Security of the Russian Federation against Criminal and Other Unlawful Acts and the Application of Special Economic Measures in Relation to the Republic of Turkey.

The resolution approved a list of agricultural produce, raw materials and food products originating from the Republic of Turkey, the import of which into the Russian Federation is banned from 1 January 2016.

The list includes Turkish tomatoes, cucumbers, shallots and onions, cauliflower and broccoli, dried and fresh citrus fruit (tangerines, oranges and their hybrids), sloes, fresh apples, pears, apricots, nectarines and peaches, plums, strawberries and grapes. Poultry (frozen parts and byproducts of chickens and turkeys), salt and fresh cloves are also banned.

The Ministry of Transport was instructed to introduce a ban, from 1 December 2015, on charter air flights between Russia and Turkey except for special flights for the repatriation of tourists in Turkey.

The resolution suspended the negotiation process for the bilateral Agreement on Trade in Services and Investments and the Middle-term program for economic, trade, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation for 2016-2019 and for the creation of the joint fund for financing investment projects in Russia and Turkey. The work of the Russian-Turkish Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation was also suspended.

Neither the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, nor the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant were included in the list of economic sanctions against Turkey ratified by the Russian government; however, on Wednesday 2 December the Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that "the negotiations on Turkish Stream have been suspended".

Banned produce will not be destroyed

The daily broadsheet Izvestia cites the press office of Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia’s agricultural watchdog, as saying that Russia will not destroy Turkish products, which will be prohibited from entering the country starting on 1 January 2016. Cargo destined for Russia will be opened on the border.

The watchdog explained that Turkey is not on the list of countries whose products must be burned or crushed. Those countries are the EU member states, Norway, Canada, Australia, the U.S., Lichtenstein, New Zealand, Iceland, Montenegro, Albania and "in special conditions" Ukraine.