Turkish army bans staff from taking holidays in Russia

AFP , Sunday 13 Dec 2015

The Turkish army has banned personnel from taking holidays in Russia, with which Ankara is embroiled in a bitter dispute over the shooting down of a Russian warplane, state-run media said Sunday.

The prohibition, which applies to both personnel and military academy students, was described as a "precautionary measure after the Russian warplane, which violated (Turkey's) borders, was downed in accordance with the rules of engagement," Anatolia news agency said.

Army personnel are expected to behave in a way that is "worthy" of the Turkish military while on vacation, Anatolia added.

Russia and Turkey have been plunged in their worst crisis since the Cold War over Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane on the border with Syria on November 24.

Moscow has since then unleashed a raft of sanctions against Ankara, including banning imports of some Turkish foods, stopping the sale of package holidays to the country and reintroducing visas for Turkish visitors.

The Turkish foreign ministry in November warned its citizens against non-urgent travel to Russia, but Ankara has so far has not hit back with sanctions measures of its own.

Turkey says the Su-24 plane repeatedly violated its airspace but Moscow insists it never strayed from Syria.

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