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Turkey mulling retaliatory sanctions on Russia: PM

Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu,

Istanbul: Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said today his government was considering retaliatory measures against Moscow, with whom it is embroiled in a bitter dispute over Ankara’s shooting down of a Russian warplane.

“If we find it necessary, we will introduce retaliatory sanctions,” Davutoglu told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), adding that cabinet had discussed possible measures at a meeting yesterday.

“But we hope that the crisis with Russia will be overcome and there will be no need to resort to these measures,” he added.

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

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

Mehmet Simsek, deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, has warned that the current tensions with Russia could cost Turkey’s economy nine billion dollars.

In the latest escalation of tensions on Monday, Turkey summoned Russia’s ambassador to Ankara over images of a Russian serviceman brandishing a rocket launcher as his warship sailed through Turkish waters.

Davutoglu said his government remained open to talks with Russia, but added: “We will never accept being dictated to.

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