Over the past two years the villains shown on Russian television have been, to quote news blogger and press photographer Ilya Varlamov, “Ukraine, the USA, France, Germany, then completely unknown terrorists from the IG, but now Turkey.” He goes on to muse about how Turkish products have been on Russian shelves for years, but suddenly are to be considered unsanitary.
Russian heath authorities have declared imports of food from Turkey to be unsafe. As usual for political disagreements, Russian health inspectors claim to have discovered sanitary violations in food imports from Turkey.
The Moscow Times newspaper quoted former health official Gennady Onishchenko who claimed, “Every Turkish tomato you buy is your contribution to a rocket to shoot down our boys.”
The Kremlin controlled media has whipped up an angry frenzy among Russian citizens after Turkey’s air force shot down a Russian warplane that had violated Turkish airspace last Tuesday. The Russian plane had ignored ten warnings and refused to leave Turkish airspace after Turkish military fighter jets intercepted the plane.
In addition to the de facto embargoes on a variety of Turkish food products, Russian president Putin cut off access to direct Russian tourist travel to Turkey. A majority of tourists who visit Turkey annually are from Russia.