Turkey to claim rights against Russian sanctions through WTO: Minister

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Ankara could take measures to counter Russian sanctions against Turkey on a global level Turkish Economy Minister Mustafa Elita? has signaled after the sanctions came into effect with the new year. 

"We'll use our rights in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules," Mustafa Elita? said in a meeting to release 2015 export figures on Jan. 4. 

Russian sanctions against Turkey came into effect on Jan. 1 as the country started to impose economic and trade sanctions on Turkish products and services after a Russian fighter jet was downed by Turkey on Nov. 24, 2015. Moscow has also suspended a visa-free travel agreement with Turkey and banned charter flights between the two countries, while travel agencies have been advised against selling holiday packages to Turkey, a popular tourist destination for Russians.

Russia's trade sanctions against Turkey are a violation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), a Turkish retired diplomat experienced in trade affairs recently said, noting that the WTO could punish Moscow for its actions.

Bozkurt Aran, who is also the director of the Center for Multilateral Trade Studies at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), said the Russian sanctions against Turkey violated the WTO agreement. 

"Russia has announced a number of sanctions that are against many articles of the GATT. If Turkey wants, it would be possible to cancel these sanctions through the WTO channel," Aran said in an interview with daily Hürriyet.

In 2014, according to Turkey's foreign trade statistics, exports to Russia were worth $5.9 billion while imports from Russia were worth $25.2 billion, mainly in energy.
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