Turkish ministers to visit Moscow

Turkey’s foreign and health ministers will today visit Moscow for talks on tourism following Russia’s two-week COVID-19 travel ban on

Turkish health minister

Photo: Cagla Durak/ Reuters

Turkey’s foreign and health ministers will today visit Moscow for talks on tourism following Russia’s two-week COVID-19 travel ban on Turkey.

Starting on April 15, Russia opted to restrict  air travel with Turkey. The move comes at a time of high tensions between the two strategic rivals.

Most recently, Turkish-Russian relations suffered after Erdogan described Russia’s military buildup in Crimea and near Ukraine’s eastern border as “worrying” and sided with Ukraine. Alongside Turkey, the EU and the US also expressed concern regarding Russia’s actions in the eastern Donbass region, where Ukrainian and Russia-backed forces have fought against each other since 2014.

Despite its recently burgeoning defense ties with Ukraine, expect Turkey to most likely continue its balancing act between the US, EU and Russia. While Ukraine is an important ally to Turkey in its vision for the Black sea, it will not risk a full-on confrontation with Russia, which it also confronts in Syria and Libya. Thus, today’s talks in Moscow will likely see Ankara attempting to warm up to Moscow in hopes that the Kremlin will lift travel restrictions, making way for much-needed revenue from Russian tourists.

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