Russia says Turkey's action over Russian wheat hindering relations

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2017 3:01 PM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ankara's action against Russian wheat, maize and sunflower oil suppliers is hindering restoration of ties between the two countries, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek by phone on Wednesday.

Turkish buyers have put purchases of these products from Russia on hold, despite denials from Ankara that it has effectively banned imports from Moscow, trade and industry sources said on Monday.

The Russian government said in a statement that both sides had expressed an attitude toward intensifying mutually beneficial trade and economic relations and the removal of existing limits in the sphere.

It did not provide any further details. Dvorkovich is in charge of agriculture in the government.

On Tuesday Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said an improvement in political ties with Russia was "not fully reflected yet in economic relations. Currently, the restrictions on visas and obstacles for contractors are fully in place."

Russia imposed trade restrictions on Turkish goods and other sanctions after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border in November 2015. As the two countries restored ties in August, Moscow lifted most restrictions.

Some market players suggested last week that with restrictions on Russian products Turkey might be trying to speed up negotiations over supplying tomatoes and certain vegetables to Russia.

Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said in a separate statement on Wednesday that he considered as inappropriate any attempts to put pressure on Moscow to open up areas of the Russian market where Moscow has been actively developing domestic production in recent years.

The Russian ministry is intent on expanding its export markets while continuing to defend areas of its own market where Moscow wants to become self-sufficient within five to seven years, Tkachev added.

The suspension of supplies to Turkey is expected to hit Russia's wheat and sunflower exports this year as the country is one of its main markets for these products, analysts have said.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Greg Mahlich)