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Russian foreign ministry urges nationals in Turkey to return home

AFP , Thursday 26 Nov 2015
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov looks on during a meeting in Moscow on November 18, 2015. (Photo: AFP)

Russia's foreign ministry on Thursday urged nationals currently in Turkey to return home after tensions with Ankara soared over the downing of a Russian warplane.

"In connection with the existing terrorist threats on Turkish territory, we once again recommend that Russian citizens refrain from visiting Turkey, and recommend that Russians who are there for personal purposes return home," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had warned on Tuesday against travel to the country and cancelled his own visit to Istanbul for bilateral talks, citing the threat of terror attacks.

But the foreign ministry on Thursday went further with its recommendation, urging Russians already in Turkey to repatriate.

There are some 10,000 Russian tourists in Turkey, a popular visa-free holiday destination for middle-class Russians, Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.

Turks in Russia were also facing closer oversight from the Russian authorities.

In the southern city of Krasnodar, 39 Turkish citizens in town for an agricultural fair were detained for alleged violation of visa rules and were set to be deported, a regional television channel said.

On its official website, the Turkish Embassy in Moscow warned its citizens to strictly adhere to Russia's visa rules and reminded them to "obtain the relevant visa" unless visiting for touristic reasons.

Russia has lashed out at Turkey after Ankara shot down a Russian jet in Syria, with the Kremlin insisting the aircraft did not enter Turkish airspace.

The downing of the jet led to the deaths of one of its two pilots and that of a soldier who took part in a failed rescue operation.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday his cabinet had two days to work out retaliatory measures against Turkey in the economic and humanitarian spheres, calling the plane's downing an "act of aggression."

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