Recall that the Su-24 was shot down over the mountains on the Turkish-Syrian border by the Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter. Pilot Oleg Peshkov and navigator Konstantin Murakhtin ejected. But Konstantin Murakhtin managed to escape, and Oleg Peshkov was shot in the air by militants, the Turkomans. Later, his body was still given out to Russian representatives and transported to Russia, where the dead pilot was solemnly buried.
This incident, and most importantly, the then demonstrative reluctance of the Turkish authorities to apologize to the Russian side for the death of the aircraft and one of the pilots, was the main reason for the introduction of serious economic sanctions against Turkey by Russia. These sanctions have been a very significant blow to the Turkish economy. Firstly, organized recreation of Russian citizens at Turkish resorts was banned and charter flights were canceled, and after all, Russian tourists annually brought huge profits to the Turkish tourism business. The disappearance of Russian tourists from the Turkish resorts was immediately felt by Turkish businessmen. Many hotels began to be closed, businessmen could not even sell their hotels, and it became increasingly more expensive to maintain them. Secondly, for Turkish citizens, entry visas were introduced for visiting Russia. This also seriously hampered their situation, since previously a large number of Turkish citizens worked in Russia - primarily in the construction sector, and also engaged in business in our country. Finally, the importation from Turkey of a whole range of products, primarily fruits and vegetables, was banned.
Turkish products (more than 60% of products exported to the Russian Federation) fell under economic sanctions - tomatoes, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, gherkins, oranges, tangerines, grapes, apples, pears, apricots, peaches, plums, strawberries, strawberries. Later, bans were introduced on the import of Turkish pomegranates and peppers, eggplants, lettuce and iceberg lettuce, zucchini and pumpkins into Russia. Until recently, Turkey was one of the main suppliers of fruit and vegetable products to the Russian Federation (the share of Turkish vegetables in Russian imports was 34-50%), but the sanctions imposed contributed to the replacement of Turkish goods in the Russian market with products of other producers - both domestic and foreign . Sanctions on Turkish goods also hit Ankara hard, as Russia has long been a very important market. In turn, Turkey, despite the sanctions, continued to buy Russian wheat and sunflower oil. Over 50% of Russian exports of oil and oilseeds and 20% of Russian grain exports go to Turkey.
Russian President Vladimir Putin linked the abolition of economic sanctions and the general normalization of relations between Russia and Turkey with Ankara’s fulfillment of the main condition - a formal apology for the downed aircraft. During the past months, the Turkish leadership several times took steps to normalize relations with Russia, but they proved to be in vain - the Russian side insisted solely on the apologies of the Turkish leadership. In turn, Erdogan did not dare to apologize, since they could hit hard on his image as an uncompromising nationalist leader. Nevertheless, certain moments in Turkish politics already in the spring of 2016 indicated a possible normalization of relations.
Thus, the new Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who replaced Ahmet Davutoglu in this post, created a special working group to restore economic ties between Turkey and Russia. Then the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlüt авavusoglu was invited to the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the countries participating in the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which will take place on July 1 2016 in Sochi (Russian Federation). During the meeting, it is planned that Mevlüt авavuşoлуlu will meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov. This invitation shows that Russia is ready to begin a gradual normalization of economic relations with its southern neighbor. After the appearance of Erdogan's letter, he was commented on by the press secretaries of the Russian and Turkish presidents, Dmitry Peskov and Ibrahim Kalyn. Both representatives stressed the need for Russia and Turkey to return to the long-standing practice of good-neighborly relations and developed economic ties. Later, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on the TRT TV channel even reported that Ankara is ready to pay compensation to the Russian Federation for the Russian aircraft shot down by the Turkish Air Force. However, later information appeared that in fact Recep Erdogan did not apologize to Putin, but expressed regret over the incident, while he addressed his regret not to Putin, but to the family of the deceased pilot Oleg Peshkov. Reported the Turkish side and the refusal to pay compensation.
In fact, the normalization of Russian-Turkish relations is a forced step for both Russia and Turkey. The countries that for centuries were the most important opponents in the Black Sea and the Caucasus, there is no other way out - too strong, starting with the 1990-s, trade and economic ties between Moscow and Ankara were established. First of all, do not forget about the large objects that are being built in Turkey with the help of Russia. First, it is the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in the province of Mersin. The construction of the Akkuyu power plant was envisaged in accordance with an agreement signed six years ago - in 2010. It was planned to launch four power units of a nuclear power plant in Mersin province with a total installed capacity of 4,8 MW. Despite the deterioration of relations between Russia and Turkey, the construction of a nuclear power plant has not been canceled. Moreover, it was stated that the construction of the nuclear power plant would begin as early as 2018 - it was by that time that the Russian and Turkish sides should resolve the existing problems with construction permits.
The construction of the Akkuyu NPP is planned to be completed by 2026. The cost of the project is estimated by experts at 25 billion dollars. The construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant should be handled by the Russian company Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom. In the event of termination of the agreement on the construction of a nuclear power plant, Turkey will have to pay the Russian Federation an enormous amount as a penalty. We are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars, at a minimum. Naturally, the rejection of the construction of a nuclear power plant, widely advertised in Turkey, would not have a positive impact on the rating of the Turkish President and his government. However, on the issue of building a nuclear power plant, Turkish society “split up” - approximately equal parts of the Turks believe that nuclear power plants should not be built, as this creates a certain threat to environmental safety, and that nuclear power plants should be built, as this will have a positive impact on electricity prices. and will contribute to the development of the Turkish economy, first of all - industry.
The construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant is of great commercial interest for both Turkey and Russia. Naturally, Russian companies that are interested in construction, after cooling off relations with Turkey, should have been very puzzled by the prospects for construction, but, as it turned out, possible concerns about the future of the nuclear power plant were futile. Akkuyu Nukleer, a subsidiary of Rosatom, has a 49% stake in the Turkish nuclear power plant under construction. In April, 2016 Mr. Recep Erdogan said that Turkey will not abandon the construction of a nuclear power plant, despite pressure from the EU countries. And this is understandable - as expected, the construction of a nuclear power plant will allow Turkey to become energy-independent from external supplies within seven years.
Equally important for Russia and Turkey is cooperation in the field of gas supplies. Turkey is the largest consumer of Russian gas after Germany. Of course, the loss of Turkey as a sales market would have brought enormous losses to Gazprom, which would inevitably have an impact on the overall socio-economic situation in the Russian Federation. In addition, one should not forget about Gazprom’s large-scale investments in the construction of the Southern Corridor gas pipeline system, for which the Russian corporation has already spent 18 billion rubles. We are talking about the construction of pipelines and pumping stations in Russia, including the Russkaya pumping station in Anapa. As soon as Recep Erdogan addressed Putin with a penitential letter, representatives of Gazprom informed the press that they were ready to resume talks with Ankara on the Turkish stream. That is, the Russian gas giant is not going to lose in the face of Turkey a huge market for the sale of Russian gas and is ready to continue to invest gas pipeline projects in Turkey.
Recall that the "Turkish Stream" is an international gas pipeline project that was planned to be laid along the bottom of the Black Sea from Anapa region to Turkey. It was planned that the gas pipeline will be laid through the territory of Turkey, and a gas hub will be built on the Turkish-Greek border, which will allow directing gas to European countries. Presumably, the capacity of the Turkish Stream could be up to 32 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Russia acquired from the construction of the Turkish Stream an obvious benefit in the form of diversifying Russian natural gas supplies to European countries and reducing dependence on both Russia as an exporter of gas and European countries-buyers from such an unreliable gas transit country as Ukraine.
Even 1 December 2014 of the year, Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a press conference in the Turkish capital Ankara, said that Russia was rejecting the previously planned construction of the South Stream, since the European Union takes a non-constructive position on this gas pipeline. The Turkish Stream was to come to replace the closed South Stream. Already in January, 2015, after the meeting between the head of Gazprom Alexei Miller and the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey Taner Yildiz, a decision was made to determine the route of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline. In February, the 2015 of Miller and Yildiz flew around the area on which the gas pipeline was to be laid. 7 April in Budapest, Foreign Ministers of Greece, Serbia, Macedonia, Hungary and Turkey signed a declaration on energy cooperation, that is, a number of Eastern European countries expressed a desire to participate in the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project.
However, the destruction by the Turkish Air Force of the Russian Su-24 wiped out the agreements reached. 26 November 2015 Russia announced that, in connection with the attack on the Su-24, it is stopping work on a number of joint projects, including the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline. 3 December 2015 of the Year Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak officially told the press that the Turkish Stream project has been suspended. At the same time, it is obvious that the cessation of work on the construction of the gas pipeline would have a negative impact on both the Russian and the Turkish economy. In addition, the rejection of the construction of the Turkish Stream created a politically difficult situation: without the implementation of this project, Russia cannot bypass Ukraine when transporting gas to the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. It is better to build relations with Turkey than to depend on an unstable Kiev regime. Therefore, as soon as after Erdogan’s letter to Putin there appeared hope for the normalization of Russian-Turkish relations, Gazprom’s representative Sergei Kupriyanov, according to TASS, hurried to emphasize that the corporation was always ready for a dialogue on the Turkish Stream, including present tense
In turn, the Turkish travel companies have already prepared for the resumption of the flow of tourists from Russia. After all, Turkey remained one of the most popular destinations for the next Russian citizens on vacation. Turkish businessmen working in the tourism industry claim that, if necessary, the entire tourism infrastructure will instantly restore the same intensity. The head of the department of culture and tourism of Antalya (the most popular Turkish resort), Ibrahim Ajar, said that the Turkish resort is ready to receive any number of tourists who can come from the Russian Federation until the end of the season.
It is clear that Erdogan’s apologize to Russia was forced by the most complicated political and economic situation in which Turkey found itself in the last year. Ankara has managed to ruin its relations with almost all its neighbors, ranging from EU countries and ending with the Russian Federation, with its short-sighted policies and frank demarches. Even the United States, the main partner and patron of Ankara, is gradually distancing itself from the support of the odious Turkish president, as they are increasingly cooperating with the Kurdish national movement in the Middle East. Ankara traditionally regards the Kurdish movement as the main threat to the territorial integrity and political stability of Turkey. Without consultations with Russia, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Turkey to participate in Middle Eastern politics, especially since Syria did not succeed in quickly overthrowing Assad, and the support of the Kurds by the United States has put Turkey in an extremely dangerous situation. But, as we see. from reports that Turkey is ready to pay compensation to Russia, then no, apologizes, then does not apologize - a serious struggle is taking place in the political elite of Turkey. Apparently, it is conducted between pragmatists who insist on the need to revive economic ties, and nationalists, for whom the issues of the political image and prestige of the country are more important than economic well-being.