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Vladimir Putin calls for sanctions against Turkey after warplane shot down

Published 28/11/2015

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP)
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP)
Tensions between Russia and Turkey are high after the downing of a Russian military jet earlier this week (AP)

Russian president Vladimir Putin has called for sanctions against Turkey, following the downing this week of a Russian warplane.

The decree published on the Kremlin's website on Saturday came hours after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan had voiced regret over the incident, saying his country was "truly saddened" by the event and wished it had not occurred.

The decree includes a ban on some goods and forbids extensions of labour contracts for Turks working in Russia.

It does not specify what goods are to be banned or give other details, but it also calls for ending chartered flights from Russia to Turkey and for Russian tourism companies to stop selling vacation packages that would include a stay in Turkey.

Mr Erdogan's expression of regret was the first since Tuesday's incident in which Turkish F-16 jets shot down the Russian jet on grounds that it had violated Turkey's airspace despite repeated warnings to change course. It was the first time in half a century that a Nato member shot down a Russian plane and drew a harsh response from Moscow.

"We are truly saddened by this incident," Mr Erdogan said. "We wish it hadn't happened as such, but unfortunately such a thing has happened. I hope that something like this doesn't occur again."

Addressing supporters in the western city of Balikesir, Mr Erdogan said neither country should allow the incident to escalate and take a destructive form that would lead to "saddening consequences".

He renewed a call for a meeting with Mr Putin on the sidelines of a climate conference in Paris next week, saying it would be an opportunity to overcome tensions.

Mr Erdogan's friendly overture however, came after he again vigorously defended Turkey's action and criticised Russia for its operations in Syria.

"If we allow our sovereign rights to be violated ... then the territory would no longer be our territory," Mr Erdogan said.

Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu also said he hoped a meeting between Mr Erdogan and Mr Putin would take place in Paris.

"In such situations it is important to keep the channels of communication open," he said.

Mr Putin has denounced the Turkish action as a "treacherous stab in the back", and has insisted that the plane was downed over Syrian territory in violation of international law.

He has also refused to take telephone calls from Mr Erdogan. Mr Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said on Friday that the Kremlin had received Mr Erdogan's request for a meeting, but would not say whether such a meeting is possible.

Asked why Mr Putin had not picked up the phone to respond to Mr Erdogan's two phone calls, he said that "we have seen that the Turkish side hasn't been ready to offer an elementary apology over the plane incident".

After the incident, Russia deployed long-range S-400 air defence missile systems to a Russian air base in Syria just 30 miles south of the border with Turkey to help protect Russian warplanes.

The Russian military also warned it would shoot down any aerial target that would pose a potential threat to its planes.

Russia has since also restricted tourist travel to Turkey, left Turkish trucks stranded at the border, confiscated large quantities of Turkish food imports and started preparing a raft of broader economic sanctions.

On Saturday Turkey issued a travel warning urging its nationals to delay non-urgent and unnecessary travel to Russia, saying Turkish travellers were facing "problems" in the country.

It said Turks should delay travel plans until "the situation becomes clear".

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