Erdoğan, Putin to meet as Kremlin says will lift its tourism ban on Turkey

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The Kremlin is reportedly planning to lift its ban on tourist travel to Turkey, which is revealed after a telephone conversation between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

It is also reported that the two leaders will meet in person soon, although the time and place for the meeting was not stated yet.

Kremlin released a statement on Wednesday, saying that Putin thinks the necessary environment to end the era of crisis between the two countries was created after Erdoğan’s apology for downing the Russian warplane.

A Russian fighter jet was shot down by Turkish military aircraft near Turkey’s border with Syria on November 24, 2015. Following the incident, two contradicting official statements came from the two countries. According to Russian President Putin, the Su-24 was struck by air-to-air missiles fired by Turkish F-16s as it was flying over Syrian territory. However, the Turkish government claimed that the Russian plane violated Turkish airspace and it was engaged after being warned.

The pilot of the downed Russian plane was shot dead reportedly as he descended with parachute after surviving the crash.

After the incident, Moscow launched several restrictions on Turkey, resulting in deepening revenue losses in Turkey’s tourism, agriculture and textile industries.

The number of Russian tourists visiting Antalya has dropped by 96 percent due to the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Russia. Official data revealed that the number of German tourists also fell by 30 percent in the first five months of 2016, compared to the same period of last year. Tradesmen of southern Antalya province staged demonstrations against lack of tourists and business in the area.

Erdoğan recently sent Putin a letter of apology and said: “I want to once again express my sympathy and deep condolences to the family of the Russian pilot who died and I say: ‘I’m sorry.”

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