12/08/2015

There's Lots of Money to be Lost


Tensions with Russia could cost Turkey's economy nine billion dollars in the worst case scenario of "zero relations", Turkish Deputy Prime Minister said Monday. 


Moscow has imposed a series of economic sanctions against Ankara after Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian jet on the Syrian border on November 24, sparking the biggest crisis between the two countries since the Cold War.

"In the worst-case scenario, which is zero relations with Russia, we are talking about a loss of nine billion dollars (8.3 billion euros)," Mehmet Simsek, the deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, told private NTV television.

The current tension is likely shave 0.3 to 0.4 percent off Turkey's GDP, Simsek added.

Russia's sanctions include a ban on the import of some Turkish foods and a halt on sales of holiday packages, a major blow to Turkish tourism.

Simsek said that the number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey and construction contracts with Russian companies had also significantly reduced. 

"There are 603,000 fewer (Russian) tourists," he said. 

"We have always seen Russia as an important partner and have no intention to escalate the tensions any further," he said. 

"But if Russia continues to maintain this attitude.... all kinds of dissuasive measures will be taken," he warned.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday announced that Turkey was seeking alternatives to Russian energy, vowing his country would "not collapse" under sanctions.

Energy-hungry Turkey relies on Russia for 55 percent of its natural gas and 30 percent of its oil. 

"It is possible to find different suppliers," Erdogan said, referring to Qatar and Azerbaijan.
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