Vladimir Putin

Russian president Vladimir Putin

Russian authorities have placed restrictions on agricultural and food imports from Turkey, according to the country’s food security watchdog, in response to the latter’s downing of a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border.

Rosselkhoznadzor revealed that agricultural and food products imported from Turkey would be subject to laboratory checks, while consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor announced it had withdrawn Turkish products, including meat and fruit, from shelves following health safety checks.

Prior to the announcement, speculation was rife over a possible Russian ban on Turkish produce. However, most considered it improbable at this time.

“Just before Christmas, it seems unlikely,” said Sertaç Kırmızıdam of Adana-based Kırmızıdam. “Putin would not want the Russian people to be without Turkish produce during this period. So the process of exporting has just been slowed down, with trucks being held at customs. Maybe after the New Year, it will be more possible.”

Russian government spokesperson Dmitry Peskov insisted that there would no ban. “No embargo will be introduced,” he said. “But at the same time, as the level of danger and various manifestations of extremism is on the rise, additional measures of control will naturally be taken. It is quite natural, especially given the Turkish Republic’s unpredictable behaviour in this case.”

However, Kırmızıdam suggested that the incident could have consequences for Turkish exporters, whether or not a full ban is introduced.

“There could be a greater impact in the minds of Russian consumers,” he told Eurofruit, “as they might decide for themselves to avoid Turkish produce. This would have a bigger and more immediate effect. It depends on what is being said and shown on Russian TV.”