Turkey braces for new influx of Russians after Putin announces mobilization

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Prices of flights to Istanbul from Moscow and other major Russian cities have risen by more than 100% today due to high demand following the announcement of a partial mobilization of the country by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The cost of a one-way ticket from Moscow to Istanbul ranges from $1,500 to $4,000, more than 100% more than a day ago, according to Google Flights search data.

All flights of the Turkish planes, including the country’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines and budget carrier Pegasus, have been booked through Sunday.

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Sky-high prices and the increasing length of flights, reaching some 50 hours for a flight that usually lasts about five hours, has not deterred travelers from their plans, even as prices continue to rise.

The cost of flights to other countries where Russians can travel visa-free, such as Serbia, Albania and Georgia, have also risen following Putin’s announcement.

In a pre-recorded national speech earlier today, Putin said his country would mobilize reservists with combat and service experience.

The number of Russians fleeing to Turkey increased significantly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, with thousands — mostly young and white-collar Russians — pouring into the country’s major cities, including Istanbul, Izmir and Antalya, mainly to transit. to Europe. Russian rapper Oxxxymirona vocal critic of the war who canceled all of his scheduled performances in his country to protest the invasion, launched his international concert series in Istanbul in March to help Ukrainian refugees.

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Russian nationals topped the list of foreign home buyers in Turkey for the first time in May with more than 1,000 sales. Under Ankara’s controversial citizenship-for-residential scheme, foreigners who pay $400,000 or more for real estate are eligible to obtain Turkish passports.

The influx led Turkish banks to start using Russia’s national payment system, Mir, for Russians who cannot use their credit cards due to sanctions. Still, two Turkish banks announced they would stop using the system after the US Treasury’s announcement of an extension of sanctions on financial institutions that use Mir.

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