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Turkey may lose $9bn over tensions with Russia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek (R) sitting beside Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during a session of the Turkish Parliament on November 28, 2015 in Ankara. (AFP photo)

Turkish deputy prime minister says Ankara could lose nearly 9 billion dollars over the tensions with its second biggest trade partner Russia.

"In the worst-case scenario, which is zero relations with Russia, we are talking about a loss of nine billion dollars," Mehmet Simsek told private NTV television on Monday.

Mehmet Simsek also said the current tensions with Moscow are expected to shave up to 0.4 percent off Turkey’s GDP.

"We have always seen Russia as an important partner and have no intention to escalate the tensions any further," he added.

Ties between Russia and Turkey have been tense since Turkish warplanes downed a Russian jet near Turkey’s border with Syria back in November.

Kremlin has already imposed sanctions on Ankara, including a ban on the import of some Turkish foods.

It has also banned Russian tourists from visiting Turkey, dealing a major blow to Turkey’s tourism sector.

Meanwhile, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that that Turkey is seeking alternatives to Russian energy amid fears that Moscow may halt gas and oil exports to Turkey.

Turkey relies on Russia for 55 percent of its natural gas and 30 percent of its oil.

Analysts say the Turkish lira could fall 3.7 percent against the US dollar later this month. (AFP image)

Lira in free fall

Meanwhile, the Turkish lira is heading for its biggest annual fall since 2008, with foreign investors leaving Turkey.

The lira has already weakened 0.6 percent to 2.9088 against the dollar. Now, analysts predict that the currency could fall 3.7 percent against the US dollar later this month.

According to Bloomberg, foreign investors withdrew $7.6 billion from assets in 2015, including $1.4 billion in outflows last month.

The declines came in the wake of Russian sanctions against Turkey.


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