Turkey is set to regain Russia as a commercial partner as Moscow prepares to lift the sanctions imposed last December.

Russia had become an important trade partner for Turkey, importing around 40% of the country’s vegetables and fruit before the downing of a Russian plane by a Turkish missile provoked Russia to impose a ban on tourism and some Turkish imports, including food products. The Russians also suspended bilateral talks on TurkStream, a strategically important pipeline designed for Russian natural gas to reach the EU without going through Ukraine.

Sectors such as textile, clothing, food, construction and tourism were negatively affected by the tensions between the two countries. According to Istanbul-based Seltem Iyigun, economist at Coface, removing the trade barriers would make a significant contribution to improving exports in these sectors but it’s going to be a lengthy process.

“The removal of these bans would take time as it would request a close collaboration between the representatives of the two countries, but the most important thing was to make the first step to restore relations. As this is now done, the rest would follow,” Iyigun tells GTR. “We see there are some important projects that the countries will work [on] together, such as the establishment of a fund for investments. This would be an important advantage for Turkey’s economy to improve investors’ confidence as it means one challenge would be solved.”

Other challenges facing Turkey may take even longer to fix. A report by Euler Hermes following the July coup found that, while the country was still on track to achieve a full-year GDP growth of 3.6% this year, country risk remained high. This was due partially to ongoing vast current account deficits mostly financed through short-term external debt dependent on investor sentiment, as well as increased political uncertainty and security risk linked to spill-overs from the Syrian war and a series of terrorist attacks.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began reconnecting to his Russian counterpart at the end of June, when he wrote Vladimir Putin to express his condolences regarding the families affected by the downing of the plane. Putin was then one of the first leaders to call Erdogan following a failed military coup in July.

This week, Erdogan visited Russia in his first trip abroad after the coup, in an obvious effort to mend relationships once and for all. Russian officials have said the sanctions could be lifted by the end of the year.