Moscow to stop imports of some Turkish foods from next year

Grapefruit, imported from Turkey according to labels and product information on the box, are on sale at a grocery of the food retailer Dixy in Moscow, Russia, on Dec 1, 2015.
Grapefruit, imported from Turkey according to labels and product information on the box, are on sale at a grocery of the food retailer Dixy in Moscow, Russia, on Dec 1, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia's embargo on some Turkish food - from tomatoes to turkey - will come into effect from the start of next year, the government announced Tuesday, as Moscow tries to exact revenge on Ankara over the downing of its warplane.

The government decree signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev makes official the economic sanctions Russia had pledged to slap on Turkey in retaliation for the downing of a Russian Su-24 on the Syrian border last week.

The import of 17 food products - including tomatoes, onions, oranges, pears, peaches, salt and turkey - will be banned starting in 2016, the decree said.

But the ban - which does not apply to products brought into the country for personal consumption - steers clear of other foods Russia massively imports from Turkey, including lemons.

Consumer products manufactured in Turkey's light industry sector were also left out of the embargo.

Russia has halted charter flights between the two countries, stopped the sale of package holidays in Turkey and will scrap its visa-free regime for Turkish visitors from the start of 2016.

The government decree also restricts Turkish construction companies' ability to take part in tenders for Russian government contracts.

Moscow's partial embargo on Turkish produce and poultry has sparked fears that food prices - which have already dramatically increased because of spiralling inflation and Russia's ban on the import of Western food - could skyrocket.

Economists from Russia's Alfa Bank said Monday that an embargo on Turkish food products could increase inflation by 1.5 points, adding to a figure that already stands at annual rate of over 15 percent.

The government decree said authorities will closely monitor the price of the food products that have landed on the embargo list.