MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday signed into law sweeping economic sanctions against Turkey as relations between the two countries plummet after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane over the Syrian border this past week.
Turkey said it shot the Russian Su-24 bomber, part of a deployment of Russian air power striking targets in Syria, because the plane briefly crossed into Turkish airspace, a charge that Russia denies.
A Russian pilot and a marine sent to rescue the pilot were killed in Tuesday’s incident, Russia’s first confirmed combat deaths since it deployed air power to Syria more than two months ago.
Putin, who called the attack a “stab in the back,” struck back with the sanctions, taking aim at more than $30 billion in trade ties between the two countries.
The sanctions bill, posted on the Kremlin’s Web site, targets Turkey’s tourism industry, cancels visa-free travel between the two countries, bans many Russian companies from hiring Turkish citizens and blocks imports of some Turkish goods. Russian government agencies are expected to submit lists of banned goods and exclusions from the new sanctions on Monday.
The fallout will be particularly painful for Turkish tourism. More than 3 million Russian tourists visit Turkey each year, many of them traveling on all-inclusive, week-long resort vacations starting at $1,000, for a couple, including airfare. Putin on Saturday banned charter flights to Turkey, and travel companies were ordered not to sell tours to the country.
Last week, Russian Finance Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said the sanctions would also freeze some prestige projects between the two countries, including a joint venture to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and a Russian-Turkish gas pipeline called Turkstream. Putin signed the gas deal with Turkey in December after the European Union blocked the pipeline.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, bragged on Russian national television Saturday that Turkish businesses were “ringing alarm bells” over the coming sanctions.
The plane downing has exposed the fault lines among the outside powers intervening in the four-year-old Syrian civil war, despite a shared opposition to the Islamic State.
The West, including NATO ally Turkey, has called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down as part of a political transition, while Moscow has provided him diplomatic and military cover. Turkey targeted the Russian jet Tuesday as Moscow was bombing a rebel group fighting against Assad with Turkish support.
For some patriotic Russians, the name of Turkey has quickly become anathema. In one incident last week, residents of the city of Ulyanovsk tore down a Turkish flag that was flying over the Turkish-affiliated Efes brewery and raised the flag of Russian Airborne Troops in its place. On Saturday, the head of the Turkish Choir, Mikhail Turetsky, told a Moscow radio station that the musical act might change its name for the time being. Turetsky, whose surname literally means Turkish, said he was also considering taking his wife’s name.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to soothe Russia after the incident, saying he was “saddened” by the downing of the jet. But he has also said that he will not apologize for Turkish pilots following orders. Erdogan has asked to speak with Putin in Paris on Monday, when both leaders will travel to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Summit.
Putin has ignored Erdogan’s phone calls, Peskov said, because Erdogan has not apologized for the incident. Putin has not said whether he will speak with Erdogan in Paris.