Economy key factor in 2009 Turkey-Russia ties

Relations between Turkey and Russia which were at opposite poles during Cold War period, started to become closer with the initiatives of businessmen.

Economy key factor in 2009 Turkey-Russia ties

Relations between Turkey and Russia which were at opposite poles during Cold War period, started to become closer with the initiatives of businessmen.

The relations further improved and headed towards strategic partnership following 4-day state visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Russia in 2009.

Gul's visit was at a time when Russia's restrictions to Turkish trucks at customs increased.

Gul's talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin focused on bilateral relations, and the two countries signed a joint declaration to improve bilateral relations and deepen friendship and multilateral partnership.

The declaration opened windows for both parties to boost relations in every area and at the same time referred to friendship agreements signed in 1921, 1992, 2001 and 2004.

Also the joint declaration which Gul and Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev signed at the Kremlin Palace envisioned improvement of bilateral relations; formation of bilateral consultation mechanisms on regional and international matters; support each other's candidacies in international organizations; enhancement of cooperation in fight against terrorism, illicit drug and arms trafficking and international crimes; making necessary legal arrangements enabling free circulation of goods, services and capital; cooperation in contracting services during the infrastructure projects of the Sochi Olympic Games; support projects to improve land, maritime and railway transportation; consolidation of cooperation in energy, tourism, military and defense industry; and simplifying visa procedures.

The declaration also underlined importance of cooperation in nuclear energy, and expressed Turkey's pleasure with the interest of Russian companies in the nuclear energy projects in Turkey.

Also, the declaration said that Turkish and Russian populations are gradually increasing, and the commitment of education ministries of the two countries to further improve cooperation would contribute to education of Turkish and Russian children.

Also during the visit, Russian party responded affirmatively to the proposal of Turkey to carry out bilateral trade with ruble and lira.

"Erdogan's meeting with Putin in Sochi"

Following the state visit of President Gul to Russia, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Russian Premier Putin in Sochi on May 17 to assess the recent situation in detail.

During the press conference, Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan pointed to the importance of the regional cooperation between Turkey and Russia, and said that the two countries had certain responsibilities in their region.

"We have to take some steps to provide peace and happiness in our region. These steps include the Upper Karabakh issue between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Middle East issue and the developments regarding Cyprus," Erdogan said.

Commenting on Turkey-Russia relations, Erdogan said that the trade volume between the two countries exceeded 35 billion USD as of the end of 2008.

Noting that Turkey had become a popular destination for Russian tourists, Erdogan said energy was another important cooperation area between the countries.

Erdogan said activities regarding Blue Stream continued, moreover, ways to get electrical energy from Russia was an issue discussed by the officials of the two countries.

Erdogan said energy was an important matter for Turkey and Russia, adding that "Turkey supplied most of the natural gas from Russia. Russian Federation never caused trouble on natural gas. Moreover it has given us additional gas to overcome difficult periods."

Speaking at the conference, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that petroleum, gas, electricity and atomic energy were the prior issues in Turkey-Russia relations.

Regarding his talks with Erdogan, Putin said regional and international matters were discussed during their meeting and the two countries had a common opinion on many issues.

Putin said Russia was number one trade partner of Turkey and Turkey was Russia's 5th biggest trade partner. He said Russia attached importance to diversification of energy relations.

Turkey-Russia relations passed to another phase following Putin's one-day visit to Ankara.

Turkey gave permission to Russia to carry out feasibility studies to pass South Stream gas pipeline from Turkey's territorial waters.

The world media said Turkey opened its borders to South Stream, which was stated to be the biggest rival of Nabucco and expressed concerns that Ankara would no more be included in Nabucco.

Upon this, Turkey said Nabucco and South Stream were not alternatives to each other, noting Turkey considered these two as complementary projects.

During Putin's visit, the talks focused on energy, extension of Blue Stream-2 natural gas pipeline to Israel, Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline, South Stream natural gas pipeline, nuclear energy power plant, construction of a natural gas storage beneath Salt Lake by a Russian company, strict control to Turkish trucks at Russian customs gates.

The parties signed deals in many areas including energy during the visit of Putin.

Russian Federal Customs Service had issued a circular in July 2008 and started to put into practice strict procedures against Turkish exporters in August 2008. Turkish exports to Russia fell by 58 percent due to global economic crisis and Russia's customs practices.

Customs Undersecretariat of Turkey and Russia's Federal Customs Service signed a protocol during Putin's visit in a move to end problems Turkey faced at the customs gates when exporting its products.

Russia had committed to annul a circular on full inspection of Turkish products exported from Turkey until August 17.

Trade volume between Turkey and Russia amounting to 40 billion USD in 2008 ranked Russia as Turkey's first biggest trade partner and ranked Turkey as Russia's 5th trade partner.

The global economic crisis had a negative impact on tourism. Number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey dropped 6.5 percent over the figures of 2008.

Officials said they expected number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey to rise in 2010.


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Last Mod: 01 Ocak 2010, 15:10
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