World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey and Russia bear an important responsibility in their region, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.
Welcomed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Erdogan started the fourth session of the Russian-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council in Russia.
Stating that relations between Russia and Turkey had reached an enviable point, the Turkish PM said mutual cooperation would improve in the military, political, economic, cultural areas.
Erdogan said he was paying great attention to the negotiations, where he planned to touch on the current issues of bilateral relations.
"I believe that we can take significant steps in the Syrian, Azerbaijani, and Armenian issues," said Erdogan.
Indicating that Turkey aims to increase the bilateral trade volume to $100 billion, Erdogan said, "I believe that our entrepreneurs are ready. We continuously inspire them in this regard."
“Meanwhile, relations between Russia and Turkey have been developing successfully even without our direct involvement,” Putin said, expressing hope that the current meeting would only favour the process.
“We may have discrepancies on some issues, but this will not lead to the cooling of our relations,” Putin told. “On the contrary, we contact more closely and search for points of coincidence.”
“Russian-Turkish relations intensively develop in all directions,” Putin said, adding that the two countries had also regular political dialogue.
The two leaders continued the meeting behind closed doors.
The Syrian crisis is anticipated to be one of the major issues which will be discussed between the sides, despite the two countries having different policies on the issue. However, both Turkey and Russia agree on the importance of the proposed talks referred to as Geneva-II and Erdogan will likely bring the issue to the table with Putin.
Apart from politics, there has been increasing cooperation between Turkey and Russia which is expected to boost in the near future.
Trade volume between the sides has increased by 24 percent in the last decade, as it was $5 billion in 2002 while it is $34 billion now.
Energy is another major dynamic of the relations between the two countries. Turkey and Russia signed "Akkuyu nuclear power plant" deal, which is a major energy agreement in the recent years as it is expected to produce about 35 billion kilowatt-hours per year while employing nearly 15,000 people in southern province of Mersin.
Turkey and Russia have a lot in common as they see an increasing collaboration in the fields of culture and tourism. Numbers show more than 3 million Russian tourists visited Turkey in the first eight months of 2013, and this number is expected to rise up to 4 million by the end of the year.
The High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council was established in 2010 during former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Turkey.
The main goal of the council was to found a body that contributes to the relations between Turkey and Russia in all areas including political, cultural, economic and humanitarian.
The two have signed 29 agreements till now since the foundation of the council.
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