Trade dispute between Russia and Turkey escalates

Turkish customs clerks were instructed to thoroughly examine goods from Russia, in response to Russia's decision to delay the transfer of Turkish goods into the country, Israel Radio reported on Monday. The Turkish media has reported that hundreds of trucks trying to carry Turkish exports to Russia have been held up at the country's checkpoints for up to four weeks. Reportedly, the assessment in Ankara was that Russia was furious because Turkey allowed US warships carrying aid to Georgia to recently pass through the Bosporus Straits to the Black Sea. Turkey, a NATO member, also helped train and equip Georgia's military, which recently lost a brief war with Russia over the separatist region of South Ossetia. Turkish Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin complained on Saturday about the restrictions on Turkish exports to Russia and suggested his country could do the same to Russian exporters. Russia is Turkey's top trading partner and supplier of two-thirds of its natural gas. The countries generally have had good relations.