Unofficial translation from Russian
Opening Remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin at Meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Leader of Turkey's Justice and Development Party, the Kremlin, Moscow, December 24, 2002
Esteemed colleagues, Esteemed Mr. Erdoğan.
We are glad to greet you on Moscow soil. Turkey is our reliable partner of long standing. In the last few years relations between the two states have been developing very intensively. But before we start discussing state relations, I would like to sincerely congratulate you on your convincing victory in the elections.
I count on the best traditions in relations between Turkey and the Russian Federation to be kept up and on us to arrive at new frontiers of cooperation. There is something for us to work at jointly. The level of our trade turnover has reached about 5 billion dollars, and taking into consideration the unaccounted trade, this is another plus 4 billion dollars approximately. According to our data, Turkish firms have approximately 6 billion dollars' worth of contracts and agreements in Russia.
We have practically completed the large Blue Stream energy project. And this once again underscores the strength of our relations, the confidence, of both Turkey and Russia, that we shall be reliable partners for each other.
I would like to thank you for your tough stand on terrorism and for the words of condolence you expressed over the terrorist act in Moscow. Turkey and Russia are both active participants of the international coalition against terrorism, and we very much hope for our cooperation on this front to grow stronger, including bilaterally.