Moscow-Ankara: is the Golden Age going on?
By Vestnik Kavkaza
The Turkish embassy in Moscow announced new requirements for foreign passports ahead of the May holidays. Neither tourists nor tour operators were ready for this. Previously, Russian foreign passports had to be valid for three months after the end of a trip. Now the term has been prolonged to four months, and the situation is strictly controlled. According to ITAR-TASS, there are several cases when Russian tourists flying to Turkey were not allowed on board. Rospotrebnadzor banned the import of 18.7 million tons of strawberries from Turkey after this.
Nobody can say whether the stories are connected or not. “It is accepted among turkologists to describe the Russian-Turkish relations of the recent period as a "Golden Age" of Russian-Turkish relations, as there has never been such a level of political, economic and regional interaction in the entire five-hundred-year history of the relations of our countries,” Irina Svistunova, senior research associate of the Russian institute of strategic researches, expert turkologist, told Vestnik Kavkaza. “Of course, the situation in the Middle East has a certain effect on our relationship, but, despite an extensive discussion of this subject in the press, we can witness that the leaders of our countries are making every effort to eliminate the political differences. A task has been set by the leaders of our countries, now it is at the level of 35 billion. If we remember that 10 years ago it made only 3 billion, we will see that progress was considerable. In addition to socio-cultural contacts, the number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey has grown, last year it exceeded 4 million. Russia takes second place for the number of the tourists visiting Turkey. It is a record indicator, and all tendencies remain for growth. Relations are developing in various spheres - economic, political, scientific.”
Speaking about the influence on relations between Moscow and Ankara caused by the Ukrainian events, Svistunova stated: “Turkey has a particular interest in Crimea, as the Crimean Tatars are close relatives of the Turkish people. According to the estimates of the Turkish side, about 4-6 million descendants of the Crimean Tatars live in Turkey now. Therefore, it's no wonder that from the beginning of the events in Ukraine Turkey showed a particular interest in the Crimean region. Turkey declares that it still recognizes the territorial integrity of Ukraine, however we see an absence of anti-Russian statements in the rhetoric of the Turkish government. I guess this question is exactly the same as the Syrian one, it will be resolved within Russian-Turkish interaction. Crimea opens up wide prospects for Turkish businessmen, for Turkish tour operators, which have already declared their readiness to take part in tourism development in Crimea.”