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Russia to end visa-free travel agreement with Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow has decided to suspend visa-free travel with Turkey. Lavrov said Friday Turkey has been reluctant to share information with Moscow about it citizens accused of involvement in terrorist activities.

The move comes amid a bitter spat between Moscow and Ankara over a Russian warplane downed by Turkey on Tuesday.

Lavrov said the visa-free travel will be suspended starting from Jan. 1.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin of the risks of Russian planes intruding into Turkey’s airspace during their meeting earlier this month at a G-20 summit in Turkey.


Erdogan said Friday that Putin urged Turkey to accept the Russian planes ‘‘as guests.’’

Erdogan said he responded: ‘‘There cannot be uninvited guests. The region is sensitive.’’

Erdogan was addressing thousands of supporters on Friday.

He also accuses Russia of backing Syrian President Bashar Assad’s ‘‘terrorist state’’ which he says is responsible for the deaths of 380,000 people.

He again challenged Russia to prove allegations that Turkey was buying oil from the Islamic State group, and claimed that IS sells oil to Assad and that Russian companies were involved.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that he hopes to have an opportunity soon to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in a step to defusing the crisis over Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane.

Speaking in northwest Turkey on Friday, Erdogan said: ‘‘There is a summit in Paris, I believe he (Putin) will also attend. We could sit and talk there.’’

Erudoga adds: ‘‘I would like to meet (Putin) face to face in Paris. I would like to bring the issue to a reasonable point. We are disturbed that the issue has been escalated.’’

Turkey’s foreign minister says Turkey wants to overcome tensions with Moscow over the downing of a Russian plane do through ‘‘diplomacy.’’


Speaking during a visit to Azerbaijan on Friday, Mevlut Cavusolgu urged Russia to help deflate tensions through ‘‘level headed statements and acts.’’ His words were carried by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.

Cavusoglu said: ‘‘we don’t favor tensions. We believe we can overcome this problem through diplomacy. We expect the same understanding from our friend and neighbor Russia.’’

On Friday, aides to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Turkish and Russian leaders could meet at a climate summit in Paris next week.

But Dmitry Peskov, spokesman to Russian President Vladimir Putin, refused to speculate over whether Putin was considering a Turkish request for a meeting.