Russia lifts Turkey travel ban

Moscow: Russia lifted restrictions on travelling to Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologised for his country downing a Russian warplane last November. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the decree on Thursday lifting the ban on the sale of package tours to Turkey and instructed the government to allow the resumption of charter flights between the two countries, Xinhua news agency reported. Russia's Federal Tourism Agency (Rosturizm) has started restoring cooperation with Turkey. Special attention will be paid to ensuring the security of Russian tourists during their vacation in Turkey, the agency said. Ties between Ankara and Moscow soured after Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 bomber on the Turkish-Syrian border in November, triggering a diplomatic row between the two countries. Russia has imposed a series of economic sanctions on Turkey, including travel ban, suspending the visa-free regime and freezing plans to build a new pipeline to carry Russian natural gas to Europe via Turkey. On Monday, Erdogan sent Putin a message in which he apologised for the death of a Russian pilot of the Su-24 bomber and expressed readiness to do everything necessary to restore the traditionally friendly relations between Turkey and Russia.\