Sunday, January 03, 2016

Russian Sanctions Biting Turkey's Economy

Russian Sanctions Biting Turkey’s Economy

by Stephen Lendman

Erdogan’s act of war against Russia is proving costly. Sanctions Putin imposed bans or restricts Turkish organizations from conducting certain types of activity in Russia.

Effective January 1, Russian employers are prohibited from hiring Turkish nationals. Job security for current Turkish employees is uncertain.

Tourism accounting for 11% of Ankara’s economy is harmed. Charter flights to Turkey are banned. Travel agencies suspended tours. Millions of Russian tourists aren’t coming. Nor are around a million visiting for business and other reasons.

Russian visits were facilitated by visa-free travel, now cancelled. Loss of billions of dollars of trade and investment means harder economic times for Turkey.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said some current and planned joint projects are frozen or cancelled - including the major Turkish Stream pipeline project to deliver Russian natural gas through Turkey to Europe and planned construction of one or more nuclear power plants.

Turkish fruits, vegetables, poultry and other foodstuffs are banned. Lost revenues from frozen joint projects and prohibited new ones are biting. Erdogan picked the wrong fight with the wrong target.

Russia was Ankara’s second largest trading partner in 2014, worth over $30 billion annually. Turkey gets over half its natural gas from Russia. It’s the fourth largest importer of Russian oil and related products.

Economics Professor Erhan Aslanoglu estimates Turkey’s economy may lose around $11 billion this year, more if sanctions continue longer-term or new ones imposed.

If Russia slows, delays or stops natural gas deliveries, the impact will be potentially huge, Aslanoglu explained. Moscow intends replacing Turkish imports with products from Central Asia, Iran and Morocco.

Putin’s promise of “serious consequences” for Ankara following Erdogan ordering the downing of a Russia Su-24 bomber in Syrian airspace is coming home to roost.

He’s losing plenty with little to gain from his recklessness. Confronting Russia belligerently is a fool’s act, clearly complicit with Washington. Nothing in prospect suggests normalizing relations.

Putin accusing Erdogan of back-stabbing him wasn’t a statement made lightly. Mending fences with him in charge is out-of-the-question. 

He’s an untrustworthy rogue actor, supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, complicit with Washington’s imperial agenda, along with waging war on his Kurdish people and imprisoning or murdering regime critics.

Putin is a master chess player, wisely deciding the price he’d pay, hitting him in the economy where it hurts most, giving him pause about challenging the Russian bear - maybe sowing seeds of rebellion among millions of Turks against his despotic rule.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.