Some 3.2 million Russian holidaymakers travelled to Turkey last year, according to Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency, making it the top foreign holiday destination for Russian tourists compared to the 2.5 million who travelled to Egypt (before the recent tragedy in Sharm el-Sheikh saw the market implode). While they accounted for the largest proportion of tourists in Turkey in 2014, the collapse in the value of the rouble has seen it overtaken by Germany.
Turkey bought 57% of its gas from Russia in 2013 and last year became the second largest consumer of Russian gas after Germany. The gas is currently supplied either by the Blue Stream pipeline along the bed of the Black Sea, or the gas transportation corridor through Romania, Ukraine and Moldova, but the fall-out from the border incident could jeopardise plans for a second Black Sea pipeline – the Turkish Stream project, talks over which have already stalled on price and uncertainty over Turkey’s political future, the latter of which appeared to have been resolved after recent elections
In 2012, Moscow and Ankara also agreed to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu in Mersin Province on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Designed to save Turkey about $14bn annually on energy imports, the nuclear power plant is already under construction underwritten by $3bn of Russian investment.
If Russia were to pull out , however, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear that the project will carry on regardless. “If the Russians don’t build Akkuyu, someone else will come along,” he said last month.
Construction and clothes
There are about 100 Turkish construction companies working in Russia where they have build more that 800 plants and factories since the end of the 1980s, according to official Russian data. Turkish investors also have stakes in a number of brands sold in the Russian market, including Tervolina shoes and the Gloria Jeans clothes brand, as well as the food and chemical industries.
On Wednesday the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti quoted Gennadiy Onishchenko, an aide to the Russian prime minister, as saying that people who bought Turkish goods financially supported Turkish servicemen. “Everyone understands that each Turkish tomato bought… is a contribution to yet another missile which will be shooting at our guys,” he said.