Government in breakaway Abkhazia has published a list of sanctions against Turkey, which, among others, also includes ban of import of fish products, fruits and vegetables starting from March 1, 2016.
The authorities in breakaway region announced about intention to join Russia’s sanctions against Turkey on January 11 – two weeks after Russian President’s aide Vladislav Surkov visited Sokhumi to press authorities there for “coordinated” actions amid Turkey-Russia tensions following downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey in November.
Abkhaz PM Artur Mikvabia’s January 11 decree, which was instructing ministries to compile list of restrictive measures, said that the move was pursuant to the treaty on alliance and strategic partnership between Russia and Abkhazia, which, among others, also envisages carrying out “coordinated” foreign policy.
New decree of the breakaway region’s PM, dated with January 15 and made public on January 19, lists specific measures, including to “temporarily ban registration and to suspend activities of those non-commercial organizations and entities, operating on the territory of Abkhazia, which are founded or managed by Turkish citizens, and/or organizations, which are under the Turkish jurisdiction and/or organizations controlled by the Turkish citizens.” The breakaway region’s Justice Ministry has been instructed to draft bills within two months setting “legislative basis for applying restrictive measures.”
The list also includes ban on hiring of Turkish companies or other entities “controlled” by Turkish citizens for implementing infrastructure projects, carried out in Abkhazia with Russian aid funds.
Starting from March 1, 2016 Sokhumi will also ban import of fish products from Turkey, as well as potatoes, tomatoes, onion, garlic, cabbage, cucumbers, citrus fruits, grapes, melons, apples, pears, apricots, cherries, peaches and plums.
The list does not include building materials, fuel and textile, which reportedly make most of the Turkish imports in the breakaway region.
Last week chairman of the state committee on ecology and environment protection of breakaway Abkhazia, Saveliy Chitanava, said that although initially it was intended to replace Turkish fishing vessels with the Russian ones this year for anchovy catch along the Abkhaz Black Sea coast, the plan was dropped because fleet the Russian side was going to provide had smaller capacities that would not have allowed Abkhaz fish processing facilities to work at their full capacity.
“Saying no to Turkish fishing vessels would have amounted to ruining fishery sector of Abkhazia… which contributed about 200 million rubles to the Abkhaz budget last year,” he said.
Economic activities in Abkhazia without authorization from the Georgian authorities represent violation of Georgia’s legislation, including of the law on occupied territories. At least four Turkish vessels were detained by the Georgian coast guard in 2013 for unauthorized entry to breakaway Abkhazia; but no such cases of detention of Turkish vessels have been reported since then.