Current dynamics of Russian-Turkish relations

Meeting of High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council
November 22, 2013, 15:50St Petersburg

Vladimir Putin took part in the fourth meeting of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council.

The main subjects on the agenda included trade and economic cooperation and humanitarian ties between the two countries, and the implementation of strategic joint projects in the energy sector.

Following the meeting, Mr Putin and Mr Erdogan witnessed the signing of a package of cooperation agreements, including on electricity, power plant engineering, customs, and cooperation between the two countries information agencies.

Speech at a meeting of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN:Mr Prime Minister, friends, let me wish you all welcome once more, in expanded format this time.

Today, we are holding the fourth meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council. The Councils work has produced results that fully measure up to the advanced level of partnership that exists between our countries.

At the meetingwith Mr Erdogan in narrow format, we made a detailed examination of the main issues on the bilateral agenda. We noted that Russian-Turkish ties are developing intensively in all areas and that we have a regular political dialogue underway. We cooperate on resolving key regional and international issues, including through the UN and the G20.

We might have our differences on particular issues, but this does not lead to any cooling in our relations. On the contrary, we intensify our contacts and search for common ground. The Joint Strategic Planning Group headed by the Russian and Turkish foreign ministers makes a big contribution to this work. The Mixed Intergovernmental Russian-Turkish Commission plays a coordinating role in building up our trade and economic ties.

Turkey is one of Russias major trading partners and is in 7thplace in Russias foreign trade turnover. Russia is Turkeys second biggest export market after Germany.

Our bilateral trade has kept up steady growth over recent years and in 2012 reached a figure of $34 billion. But as I discussed with the Prime Minister just before, this year has seen a slight correction that resulted in a small drop. We think that this is something we can fix and is related to the difficult situation on the global markets. We see this as a temporary problem. I am sure that if we take systemic measures to improve our bilateral trade conditions, this will help us to re-establish the positive dynamic in our trade and economic ties.

We are broadening our investment cooperation. The accumulated Russian capital investments in Turkish economy exceed $1.57 billion, and Turkish capital investments in Russia are about $740 billion.

Major investment projects are being implemented in the energy sector. Our cooperation in this area has reached a truly strategic level. The Blue Stream pipeline, which passes across the bottom of the Black Sea, is functioning reliably. We exported 27 billion cubic metres of natural gas in 2012. In 2014, we plan to start building the maritime section of the South Stream pipeline in Turkeys exclusive economic zone.

Rosatom is building Turkeys first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu, with capital investment standing at $20 billion. And colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that about 25% of this amount will be used by Turkish companies in this work. This means additional jobs; these are very sound investments into the future of Turkeys energy sector. We expect that the Turkish government will provide tax incentives and guarantees of long-term power purchase. In addition to the implementation of similar projects in Western Europe, we feel this project is a priority for us in Eastern Europe.

We are developing industrial cooperation in the metals and automotive industries, and we are strengthening ties in the financial and innovation sectors.

Military technology cooperation is an important area in Russian-Turkish partnership. We are broadening contacts between law enforcement agencies and special services, including in the fight against terrorism.

We are also interested in cooperating closely to ensure security during the Sochi Olympics. And in this regard, I would like to thank our Turkish partners and Turkish companies for their active and effective work in building Olympic facilities.

Turkey is one of the most popular destinations for Russian tourists; according to data from this year, we expect to hit a new record, with four million visitors. Turkish citizens are growing increasingly interested in visiting Russia as well, so we would like to suggest considering the idea of holding reciprocal years of tourism.

We have great opportunities for further broadening humanitarian ties. The work of the Russian-Turkish Public Forum should help their implementation.

I assume that the heads of key ministries and departments who are present here today will give substantive reports on developing bilateral cooperation in various areas, making concrete suggestions on their further enhancement.

When Mr Prime Minister and I were talking about many of the problems I just mentioned, we agreed that during the expanded-format discussion, our colleagues heads of ministries and departments will be able to give the necessary clarifications and talk in more detail about cooperation prospects.

Thank you for your attention.