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Turkey's Erdogan, Putin talk priority issues in Moscow

Russian, Turkish presidents continue wide-ranging talks with participation of bilateral delegations

Elena Teslova   | 08.04.2019
Turkey's Erdogan, Putin talk priority issues in Moscow

MOSCOW 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed priority issues in Russian-Turkish relations on Monday.

Opening the second part of talks in Moscow, with the participation of bilateral delegations, Putin said the two leaders agreed to further strengthen cooperation “in the spirit of advanced, multifaceted partnership.”

“I propose that we discuss specific areas of cooperation, the implementation of the most important joint projects, and outline guidelines for further expansion of mutually beneficial ties in the same businesslike and constructive manner with the participation of the governments,” Putin said.

Putin stressed that there was serious preparation for today’s meeting of the Turkish-Russian High-Level Cooperation Council.

Many contacts took place at all levels, and the heads of key ministries and departments compared the positions of the two countries within the framework of the special mechanisms of political, economic, and cultural interaction under the council, he said.

The situation in Syria holds a particular place in the bilateral talks, he said.

“I would like to note that Russia and Turkey, as guarantors of the Astana process, continue to make vigorous efforts for the long-term normalization of the situation in this country.

“We are coordinating efforts to revitalize the Syrian political process, including with a view to forming a constitutional committee as soon as possible,” Putin said.

Economic ties

On economic ties, Putin said, “Much is being done to deepen economic ties, boost bilateral trade and investment flows.”

“Last year, the trade volume rose almost 16 percent to top $25 billion; the volume of mutual investments is approaching $20 billion,” he added.

“I believe the expansion of trade would be helped by lifting restrictions in this area, the diversification of the product range, the launch of new joint projects in industry, metallurgy, agriculture, and IT.”

He said Russian-Turkish cooperation in the energy sector has acquired “a truly strategic character.”

“Russia is the largest supplier of natural gas to Turkey, and last year 24 billion cubic meters were exported to Turkey. This covers almost half of the country's needs,” he explained.

“The opening of a new gas pipeline –TurkStream – will significantly increase the supply of Russian gas to Turkish consumers.”

He added that this year the construction of a terminal on Turkey’s Black Sea coast is expected to be completed.

“Another strategic project is the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear plant in Turkey, with the launch of the first unit set for 2023. At this stage, it is necessary to attract additional funding and conclude an agreement with potential Turkish investors,” Putin said.

The Russian leader also touted military cooperation with Turkey, saying the delivery of the Russian S-400 air defense system to Turkey was discussed.

“There are other promising projects in the works related to the supply of Russian military products to Turkey,” he said.

Putin also praised personal and cultural bilateral ties.

“I am sure that the cross-year of culture, which opens at today's ceremony at the Bolshoi Theatre, will contribute to the expansion of human exchanges,” he said.

This is the third meeting of the two leaders so far in 2019. Last year Putin and Erdogan held seven bilateral meetings and participated in number of international summits.

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