Europe

How Russia and Turkey are deep in a tit-for-tat dispute

Composite image showing president Putin of Russia (left) and Erdogan of Turkey (right) - December 2015 Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption A rare example of Presidents Putin (left) and Erdogan (right) seeing eye to eye

In less than a month, Russia and Turkey have illustrated what can quickly happen when two countries launch a tit-for-tat dispute.

The disagreement goes back to the downing of a Russian air force jet by two Turkish F-16s around Turkey's border with Syria on 24 November.

Since then, Ankara and Moscow have traded barbs, introduced retaliatory measures and made calculated threats at one another.

Russia says 'tomatoes fund Turkish warplanes'

On 25 November, Gennady Onishchenko, a Russian prime ministerial aide, said that "each Turkish tomato" bought in Russia contributed to Turkey's economy and thus to purchasing missiles that could potentially be fired at Russian warplanes.

Russia's agriculture minister said that around 15% of Turkish produce did not meet Russian safety standards. As a result, hundreds of tonnes of Turkish food was stopped at the border and prevented from entering Russia.

Turkish players banned from Russian football clubs

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Galatasaray captain Selcuk Inan - don't even go there (if you're a Russian club)

Sanctions against Turkey were expected, and they were duly announced three days later on 28 November.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the move affected imports from Turkey, the work of Turkish companies in Russia and any Turkish nationals working for Russian companies.

The decree also called for an end to charter flights between the countries and suspended the visa-free arrangement for Turks visiting Russia.

It also means that Russian football clubs are banned from buying Turkish players - for the time being at least.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan started to make conciliatory noises at this point, saying he hoped for talks with Mr Putin. But then he said he refused to apologise, and then...

Russia says Turkey sells oil to IS...

On 2 December, Russia's defence ministry accused Mr Erdogan's family of being directly involved in the trade of oil with the so-called Islamic State group - Mr Erdogan called the claim "slander".

...Then Turkey says Russia sells oil to IS

A day later, it was Turkey's turn to accuse Russia of buying oil from IS. "We have the proof in our hands," Mr Erdogan said - but no more was forthcoming on this from Ankara.

Russian serviceman shows Turkey his missile launcher

Turkey was not happy when images emerged on 6 December showing a Russian serviceman apparently holding a missile launcher as his ship passed through Turkish waters.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called the incident a "provocation" and Russia's ambassador was summonsed.

Image copyright Russian defence ministry website
Image caption The Russian warship, the Smetlivy, was anchored just off the Greek island of Lemnos when the incident happened

On 13 December, Russia said one of its warships fired warning shots at a Turkish fishing boat in the Aegean Sea to avoid a collision, claiming that the Turkish vessel approached to 600m (1,800ft) before turning away in response to Russian small arms fire.

The captain of the Turkish boat said he was unaware that his vessel had been shot at. Russia demands Turkey's defence attache come to talks.

Turkish boat won't get out of the way

In the most recent development, a Russian company said on 14 December that a Turkish boat refused to move out of the way of a convoy of Russian ships transporting oil rigs in the Black Sea.

The AFP news agency reports that a patrol boat from the Russian FSB security service's border guard and a missile boat from the Russian Black Sea Fleet forced it to change course.

The incident reportedly occurred on 24 November, the same day the plane was shot down, but was announced only on Monday.

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