Current dynamics of Russian-Turkish relations

MFA Spokesman Andrei Nesterenko Interview with RIA Novosti Concerning the Working Visit to Moscow of Turkeys Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Davutoglu

Question: Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Davutoglus working visit to Moscow is beginning today. What is the current state of Russian-Turkish relations?

Answer: Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Ahmed Davutoglu is paying a working visit to Russia from July 1-2 at the invitation of Russian Federation Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov. I would like to note that this is his first arrival in our country since his appointment to this post. The upcoming visit is in continuation of intensive collaboration between the foreign affairs agencies of the two states and our political dialogue as a whole, acquiring an ever more constructive and open character.

Relations with Turkey in many areas have reached the level of an advanced, many-sided partnership, as attested in the Joint Political Declaration the presidents of the two states adopted in February 2009. The actively evolving summit- and high-level political dialogue bears witness to this. Russian and Turkish leaders have met more than 10 times at summit level over the last four years in different formats.

Question: What is the agenda of upcoming Russian-Turkish talks?

Answer: The visit of Davutoglu will provide an opportunity for notes to be compared as needed on the full range of bilateral relations and on pressing regional and global problems. It is planned, in particular, to discuss prospects for an Iraq and Middle East settlement, the situation surrounding Irans nuclear program, CFE problems, conditions in Transcaucasia and Central Asia, the state of affairs in the Cyprus settlement, and interaction in international organizations. An important item on the concerted agenda for talks is the exchange of views on the issues of further bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the Black Sea region, including the prospects of interaction within the framework of the BSEC organization, Blackseafor and Operation Black Sea Harmony.

Question: How are ties evolving between our countries in the trade and economic field and contacts in the cultural and humanitarian sphere?

Answer: During the talks in Moscow a noticeable place will be allotted to discussing topical issues in economic and trade ties, which have in the last decade become one of the chief growth engines for relations between our countries. Trade in 2008, according to Russian trade statistics, amounted to $33.8 billion. Energy cooperation continues to expand. Russian natural gas supplies to Turkey in 2008 topped 24.5 billion cubic meters (up from 23.5b cu m in 2007), including 10.5b cu m via the Blue Stream gas pipeline. Both sides are interested in expanding its capacity, particularly by laying a parallel line (Blue Stream 2) and extending it across Turkish territory toward the Mediterranean. Good cooperation prospects exist in atomic energy.

Turkish contracting companies are engaged in extensive work in Russia. Over the last decade they have concluded contracts worth over $17 billion. The overall Turkish direct investment in Russia exceeds $5 billion. Recent years have witnessed Russian investors showing a markedly growing interest in making investments in the Turkish economy.

A lot of potential for interaction exists in military-technical cooperation and in a number of other high technology fields.

Bilateral contacts are being actively developed in humanitarian/cultural ties and tourism.

In 2007 the Year of Russian Culture events passed successfully in Turkey, followed by a reciprocal Year of Turkish Culture in Russia in 2008. The preparatory work for signing an intergovernmental Program of Cooperation in Education, Science, Culture, Youth Exchanges and Sport is in the concluding stage.

A growing number of Russian tourists annually visit Turkey (about 2.5 million in 2008). This contributes significantly to reinforcing trust and understanding between the two countries.

July 1, 2009