Ankara, December 29, 2014/ Independent Balkan News Agency
Turkey and Russia increased bilateral trade turnover to nearly $33 billion in 2014, The accumulated Russian direct investments in Turkey exceed $1.7 billion, and similar Turkish investments in Russia are close to $1 billion. Recent developments in Russia affects the economic relations of Russia and Turkey and maybe Turkey itself. Tourism, construction and several exports sectors were affected negatively from the current situation.
Turkey received 4.3 million tourists in 2013 when in 2014 this figure is expected to approach 5 million. The contribution of Russian tourists to Turkey’s economy is calculated at 4-5 billion dollars. On 2015, senior managers of tourism sector calculate a decline on the figures but there is also the expectation that many Russian tourist, who were planning to travel to Europe will turn their route to Turkey. Antalya Belek area is the first destination visited from A+ class tourist Russian visitors.
Almost all big turkish construction companies have a presence in Russia. Turkey has participated in a total of 1484 projects (1972-2014) with the biggest share of 17,44% among all the operated countries for the said period. For 2013 the distribution of projects by country show the Russian Federation on the second rank performing 51 projects with approximately USD 5,8 bilion and a share of 18% among all the operated countries in general.
The largest export categories from Turkey to Russia are textile, fabrics, manufactured goods, vegetables and fruits and vehicles. The largest import to Turkey categories are natural gas, crude oil fuel products and iron and steel. Russia was 5th in the exporters rank of Turkey in 2013. In 2014 it dropped to 6th and if the situation persist to stay unstable in 2015 it will be at the 7th place.
Turkish Western Mediterranean Exporters Union Chairman Mustafa Seller , states that this situation should not be treated like a simple devaluation but a state of emergency . Turkish fresh fruit and vegetables exporters’ unions made a joint statement regarding the “frightening” situation, asking for an immediate solution to cover their losses. According to several articles published by Turkish media corporations, Turkish exporters losses have reached 40 percent since the beginning of 2014.
Turkey is officially exporting to Russia in general USD 7 bilion and via shuttle exportation, of which the bigger percentage is textile and ready garment, is approximately USD 5 bilion. Shuttle trade refers to the activity in which individual entrepreneurs buy goods abroad and import them for resale in street markets or small shops. Often the goods are imported without full declaration, in order to avoid import duties. Laleli Osmanbey Merter are the areas that collect all the shuttle exportation and they are the areas that will be affected most from the decrease of demand. On the other hand Turkey is one of the number one destination for the funds expatriated from Russia, and has all the tools, the speed and the experience to settle a strategy to avoid the heavy effects of this situation.
Neighbouring countries at risk
The rapid decline of the ruble will adversely affect all the neighbours of Russia. The country that has the most impact is Ukraine after Ukraine , Georgia and Kazakhstan and then Moldova, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan , Uzbekistan, are the worst-affected countries. Some experts accuse the Russian government that has not been quick enough to address the situation, some state that this is not an economic crisis like the one of 1998, but a political one. Will Putin take a step back in Ukraine, in order to have some recovery in this crisis and stop the sales period on oil prices? The questions are mounting, the answers are not clear, uncertainty takes hold and everyone waits.