Current dynamics of Russian-Turkish relations

Statements for the press
following Russian President Vladimir Putins meeting with President
of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan
(Istanbul, 10.10.2016)

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (retranslated): Ministers and guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to welcome you.

Today we had our meeting in the framework of the 23 World Energy Congress. As you know, the Congress will continue for two more days.

The Congress will make a big contribution thanks to the efforts of ministers and respective experts. Today as heads of state, as presidents, we attended the opening and made speeches. Following that, we had bilateral meetings.

Some of our ministers have completed whereas others are still having bilateral contacts, and experts on both sides keep working. This is the exact area that directly responds to energy issues and is related to energy.

Apart from that, issues concerning commerce and the economy were discussed, as well as those related to the defence industry, tourism and culture.

From the perspective of Turkey-Russia relations, we have had a very efficient day. As a result of our work, respective agreements were finalized, which were ultimately signed thanks to our work this evening. I am absolutely confident that the normalisation of Turkish-Russian relations will proceed at full speed.

Naturally, our relations will move forward, covering many different areas: defence, industry, the economy, trade, and all the other areas of bilateral relations.

Regarding the sixth meeting of our high-level Cooperation Council, we have instructed our foreign ministers to arrange it either late this year or early next year. Taking into account the tough deadlines, the intergovernmental commission has also been given due instructions so that they speed up their work. Intergovernmental contacts are naturally very significant. The next meeting of the intergovernmental commission will be hosted by our country.

Certainly, a very sensitive matter was discussed related to the developments in the region. The Syrian issue has been considered from all angles. We have discussed the issues connected with the Euphrates Shield operation, and made assessments as to how we could cooperate in this area. We had a special discussion of which strategy we can choose for ourselves to render humanitarian aid to the residents who are in a very difficult position, in particular, in Aleppo.

We gave instructions to our respective agencies. Our relevant bodies will establish contacts; they will discuss issues concerning the military, intelligence and the foreign ministries; and they will maintain contacts and develop a strategy as a result.

Another key issue we have discussed is the Turkish Stream project. A decision has just been made to expedite the work on the Turkish Stream.

One more important issue is the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant. And I am sure here we will be able to make up for lost time.

Thank you very much for your time. I give the floor to you, Mr President.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank the President of Turkey for the invitation to this major international energy event. I would also like to congratulate our Turkish friends on the excellent organisation of this large event.

As for bilateral relations, today we had very constructive talks on a series of important issues. We agreed to continue making the necessary efforts to completely normalise our bilateral ties. In this connection, I would like to point out that today the Russian Government decided to give an entire group of Turkish goods access to the Russian market.

These are agricultural products: stone fruit and citrus fruit. This is a mutually beneficial decision. The Russian agricultural sector does not produce these kinds of fruit, and we expect a price decrease after the Turkish goods enter the market. For our Turkish partners this is, naturally, entry to the Russian market. Let me remind you that sales of these Turkish goods on the Russian market were at $500 million in 2015. Therefore, this is an important decision.

We also agreed to continue working on the complete normalisation of our relations, and the intergovernmental commission will get started on this soon. I would like to confirm Russias interest in this.

We also spoke about cooperation in energy and further work on the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant project.

I would like to point out that this is not simply about the construction of a power plant. This is about the creation of an entire new high-tech energy sector in Turkey with technology transfer and personnel training. Over 200 young future Turkish experts are currently studying in Russia.

Another large project (you just saw the signing of an intergovernmental agreement) is the Turkish Stream gas pipeline. As part of this project and the expansion of our cooperation we also agreed on gas discounts.

Please note that we are moving towards the implementation of the Turkish Presidents plans to establish a large energy hub in the country.

We also talked about options for expanding our cooperation in other areas as well, in particular, in space. The Russian company Roscosmos is prepared to take part in the tender for manufacturing and launching Turkish communication satellites.

We talked about expanding cultural cooperation. Turkey put forward an initiative to hold mutual years of culture and tourism in Russia and Turkey. We support this proposal and we will carry out relevant activities at the ministerial level to implement it.

As the President of Turkey pointed out, we spent a great deal of time on regional issues today, primarily on the situation in Syria, naturally. Both Russia and Turkey support putting an end to the bloodshed as quickly as possible. Russians believe that a political settlement process should begin as soon as possible. We believe that everyone who really seeks peace should support these proposals.

We share the opinion that everything should be done to deliver humanitarian aid to Aleppo. The problem is only in ensuring the security of deliveries. I informed our

Turkish partner that we proposed to our US colleagues that we do everything in our power to withdraw Syrian troops and opposition forces from Castello Road which can and should be used to deliver humanitarian aid to Aleppo, so that provocations involving strikes on humanitarian convoys will not happen again. Our US partners actually refuse to do this. They are either unable or unwilling for some reason.

I hope that this will be one of the topics for discussion at the talks that are to take place in Switzerland on Saturday. We came to an agreement with the President of Turkey that we will do everything to support the initiative of Mr de Mistura, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General regarding combat units from Aleppo that are unwilling to lay down their arms in order to stop the bloodshed. We agreed to intensify our contacts through military departments and special services.

Now about military and technological cooperation. We are prepared to develop this cooperation and replenish it with serious projects of mutual interest. Proposals from both sides are being considered now and I am sure that there is every reason for them to be implemented.

I would like to thank the President for his attention to promoting Russian-Turkish relations and for the very warm reception of our delegation.

Thank you.