Russia and Turkey mend broken ties amid terror fears

Russia and Turkey mend broken ties amid terror fears
Russian travel sanctions against Turkey were lifted on Wednesday - just hours after a militant attack at Istanbul airport - bringing relations between the two countries back to relative normality.
2 min read
30 June, 2016
The leaders of Russia and Turkey reconciled after seven months of tension [Getty]

Russian restrictions on travel to Turkey were lifted on Wednesday after the two leaders reconciled following a seven-month period of tension.

President Vladimir Putin waived the sanctions after a call with Turkish leader, Recep Tayyib Erdogan. The Russian leader announced Moscow's ban on charter flights and package tours to Turkey would be lifted and noted the government is considering ending an embargo on a selection of Turkish food products.

"I want to start with the question of tourism... we are lifting the administrative restrictions in this area," Putin told government ministers in televised comments.

"I'm asking that the Russian government begin the process of normalising general trade and economic ties with Turkey," he said.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said that the ban on charter flights and the product embargo would formally be lifted in the "next few days" while tourist flows to Turkey would recover to pre-November levels within three months, according to Dmitry Gordin, the vice president of Russia's association of tour operators.

Both leaders stressed "the importance of the normalisation of bilateral relations".

The breakthrough followed an earlier letter from Erdogan containing an apology for the downing of a Russian jet in November that led to the fractured relations.

Erdogan expressed his "regret" over the incident in Monday's letter to Putin, requesting  the family of the dead pilot "excuse us".

Turkey had made international headlines in recent days with the restoration of ties with Israel after years of animosity caused by a deadly raid on a Turkish aid flotilla en route Gaza.

The country was also hit with a fatal suspected Islamic State group attack that left 42 dead on Tuesday when triple suicide bombings rocked Istanbul's international airport.