11/26/2015, 00.00
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Downed jet: Moscow threatens economic consequences, but has strong interests in Turkey

by Nina Achmatova
Medvedev speaks of possible halt on all bilateral agreements and reduction of market shares of Turkish companies, but Russian interests in Turkey range from gas to nuclear power, banks and internet.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The shooting down of the Russian S-24 fighter jet on the border with Syria, November 24, threatens not only the expansion of bilateral trade relations between Russia and Turkey (in his last visit to Moscow Receyyp Erdogan had hoped for increase the interchange up to $ 100 billion by 2023), but also raises fears of a breakup of economic relations, according to Russian agency RBC. The news outlet that specializes in financial information, has estimated the cost the standoff between Moscow and Ankara, closely linked by economic and trade relations.

The most immediate consequences of what happened are economical.  Premier Dmitri Medvedev explained: "The damage will be difficult to repair, its first consequence can be the cancellation of a whole series of important joint projects and the losses of Turkish companies on the Russian market".

Although Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has ruled out a Moscow boycott of Turkish business, the Russian Prime Minister warned that his executive is seriously reconsidering some projects planned in partnership with Ankara.

The reference is to the creation of the first nuclear power plant in Turkey, Akkuyu, a project commissioned to the Russian Rosatom to the tune of $ 20 billion. Most at risk is the Turkish Stream gas pipeline thought of as an alternative to the Russian South Stream.

The first and most obvious blow was given to the tourism industry. Turkey is the most popular destination among Russian tourists: 3.3 million visitors in 2014. In the first half of 2015, just over one million, with a 26% less than the previous year, but with the numbers are destined to grow to 80% due to the suspension of flights to Egypt after the attack on the A321Airbus in Sinai.

Russia is the second largest foreign trade partner of Turkey. In turn, Turkey is ranked sixth (fifth for export and 13th for imports). In 2014, the bilateral trade volume reached 31.1 billion dollars, down from 2013. Then for a number of objective factors (falling energy prices, unfavorable global financial and economic conditions) in the first nine months this year the volume decreased by 23.4% ($ 17.7 billion). Turkey continues to be the second largest buyer (after Germany) and its share in Russian natural gas is about 70%.

But Turkey is an important market not only for Gazprom and tour operators, who on the advice of the authorities have already stopped selling packages to this destination. It is a "strategic market ", writes RBC agency, also for the public bank Sberbank, which in 2012 has bought almost 100% of the Turkish DenizBank for $ 3.5 billion, today one of the ten largest banks in Turkey and the leader in retail.

Since 2011, Yandex, the most popular search engine in Russia has also been operative in Turkey, the first market in which the Russian company has expanded.

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