Moscow to consider lifting Turkish food embargo

© Umit Bektas
Russian officials will visit Turkey next week to discuss the return of agricultural products currently banned from the Russian market.

“The exchange of delegations is scheduled for next week. Our agriculture officials will go to Turkey. We will hold consultations,” said Deputy Economic Development Minister Aleksey Likhachev.

Russia is interested in exporting poultry and dairy products to Turkey, he said, adding that Turkish agriculture officials are also expected to come to Russia.

“On August 5-6 the Economy Ministry will summarize the visits and prepare a report for the President by August 9,” Likhachev added.

On Tuesday, Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci asked Russia to lift the embargo on the country’s food products. His Russian counterpart Aleksey Ulyukayev said Moscow is unlikely to lift the restrictions before a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan planned for St. Petersburg on August 9.

Turkish food imports were blocked along with other goods at the beginning of the year after Turkey shot down a Russian military jet in Syria. The Russian sanctions also included a ban on charter flights to Turkey, the introduction of a visa regime, as well as prohibiting the hiring of Turkish citizens. At the request of the Kremlin, Russian travel agencies suspended sales of package tours to the country, although they are now back on sale.

The relationship between the countries improved after Erdogan apologized to the Kremlin for the jet incident.