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Russia to Issue Visas to Turkish Airline Crews if Applied for 'On Time'

Russia on Wednesday rejected a Turkish accusation that it was refusing to issue visas to crews of the Turkish budget carrier Pegasus, saying the airline should have applied for them earlier.

Moscow suspended visa-free travel for Turks from Jan. 1 as part of a range of sanctions after a Turkish jet shot down a Russian warplane near the Turkish-Syrian border in November.

Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yildirim accused Russia of violating international aviation rules by arbitrarily denying visas to Pegasus, which on Tuesday suspended flights to and from Russia until Jan. 13.

But the Russian Foreign Ministry said Pegasus had only applied for visas at the Russian consulate in Istanbul on Wednesday afternoon, and that Onur Air, which has suspended its flights to Russia until Jan. 14, had not applied at all.

In a statement, it said Russia had provided multiple one-year visas to 380 crew members and technicians at Turkish Airlines, which had "started tackling this problem on time … and is now making flights according to schedule."

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