ATHENS – Turkey seized on attracting Russian tourists by refusing to abide by European Union sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, Greece’s Foreign Minister of Greece Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said.
That was reported by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti in which he said Turkey got economic benefits by skirting the penalties, with Turkey still also trying to join the EU, a process that began in 2005 and has stalled.
During a meeting of the special group for Mediterranean and Middle East of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Athens, Miltiadis called Turkey’s non-compliance with the sanctions against Russia problematic, the report said.
The sanctions barred Russian airlines, which has brought a big hit as well to Cyprus, an island especially popular with Russian visitors, businesses and the wealthy trying to hide their sources of wealth in Cypriot banks.
Varvitsiotis said that EU countries are paying a price for following the sanctions although it has brought a sharp division within them, with Hungary especially eager to accommodate Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Varvitsiotis said that Turkey doubled the number of seats on its planes to accommodate Russian passengers. The EU, reluctant to confront President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in fear he will unleash more refugees and migrants on the bloc, did nothing about it.