Russia Slaps Flight Restrictions on Turkey After Erdogan Backs Ukraine | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Russia Slaps Flight Restrictions on Turkey After Erdogan Backs Ukraine

Russia has announced that it is to restrict flights to and from Turkey from April 15 to June 1, citing climbing COVID-19 cases in the country. Although Turkey’s coronavirus outbreak—which threatens to spiral entirely out of control—will be seen by many experts as an excellent reason to prevent Russians from taking Turkish holidays, the suspicion will be that the restriction, announced on April 12 by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, is actually a response to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s weekend expression of his readiness to support Ukraine amid a flare-up of tensions in its breakaway pro-Moscow eastern regions and a stark build-up of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border.

In a sign of worsening relations between Moscow and Ankara, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Turkey and other “responsible” nations not to feed what he described as “belligerent sentiment” in Ukraine.

Erdogan met visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Istanbul on April 10, discussed military contracts with him—Turkey supplies Ukraine with, for example, armed drones—and supported him on all issues, expressing the hope that Ukraine would one day become a fellow member of Nato.

Suffering another heavy depreciation in the Turkish lira given its economic woes, Turkey risks slipping into another balance of payment crisis and, as noted by Timothy Ash at BlueBay Asset Management: “Erdogan cannot afford to give away perhaps $2-3bn in Russian tourism money this year”.