After the flight ban was implemented earlier this year, the number of Russian tourists dropped from between 1 million and 3.6 million in 2015. According to a recent report, only 55 Russians visited Antalya in the month of February, 2016.
The relationship between Russia and Turkey has been tense since last November, after Turkey downed a Russian jet which had allegedly entered Turkish airspace.
The Russian Civil Aviation Authority’s decision seems to be an attempt at defrosting relations with Turkey. The Russian Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko was quoted as saying that the relationship between Russia and Turkey needed to be taken out of the deep freeze. However, in order to melt the ice, Turkey must first take responsibility for the downing of the Russian jet.
Although Turkey has not taken responsibility yet for the incident, and Rosaviatsia, the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency has stated that it will not allow Ural Airlines to fly to Antalya due to the threat of terrorism, this is a clear sign of the move towards normalizing relations between the two countries.
Russian attempts aimed at reopening dialogue with Turkey are understandable, as Turkey will be attending the Geneva peace talks on Syria and contact with Turkey is almost inevitable.
Moreover, Turkey must know that the situation in Syria is turning in favor of Bashar Assad. Especially after the capture of Palmyra, which is huge boost for the Syrian regime.
Having already encircled Aleppo and cut all supply routes from Turkey, the Syrian Army is growing closer to the Islamic State’s self-declared capital of Raqqa. Russian support will be useful in the future in order for Turkey to secure its interest in Syria.
As the fight against Islamic State gathers momentum, both country will be almost certainly be in contact. From both a political and an economic standpoint, Russia and Turkey seem to be recognizing that the nature of their relationship is symbiotic rather than mutually exclusive.