Fruit exporters from South Africa and South America are using Turkey to get their fruit to the Russian market. Turkish fruit exporters report being barraged by calls from overseas producers seeking to unload their products in the port of Istanbul. These imports from Turkey appear to be essential for enabling Russia to secure its food supply.
Roads to Russia from Turkey’s eastern border via Georgia have become heavily congested, with waiting times now of up to three days. With the devaluation of the Russian rouble, imports are becoming increasingly expensive for Russians.
In 2021, almost 30% of Russia’s imports of fresh fruit and vegetables (excluding bananas) came from Turkey. Russia imports almost 7 million tons of fresh fruit and vegetables annually.
Despite EU requests, Turkey has announced no sanctions against Russia and Turkish airspace remains open to Russian planes and its seaside resorts open to Russian tourists.