All kinds of military cooperation with Russia in Syria: President Erdoğan
AP photoAnkara and Moscow are conducting all kinds of military cooperation in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a press conference March 10 with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
“There are all kinds of military cooperation in military pace in Syria,” Erdoğan said.
The president also voiced determination in maintaining cooperation regarding humanitarian aid in the war-torn country.
Meanwhile, Putin also said he appreciated the cooperation of intelligence and military units.
"We rate very highly the level of interaction achieved between the special services of Russia and Turkey and between the two countries’ military," Putin said as quoted by TASS news agency.
Erdoğan also reiterated that the territorial integrity of Syria should not be put in jeopardy, adding that Ankara has no toleration for the splitting of Syria and Iraq.
The top soldiers of Turkey and Russia, along with the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, held a three-way military summit in Antalya on March 8 discussing developments in Syria and Iraq regarding the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Erdoğan noted that although Turkey and Russia did not agree on everything, the countries kept the channels of communication "open.”
Putin said Syria's territorial integrity was an "irreplaceable" element, which is "vital" for the solution of the crisis.
He added the situation in Syria was "complicated.”
Ankara, Moscow agree to ease ban on Turkish firms
Erdoğan and Putin also agreed to remove work permit sanctions against Turkish nationals and businesses.
"We expect Russia to completely remove [economic] restrictions," Erdoğan said.
"Only in this way will it be possible for us to reach our previously announced target of $100 billion trade volume."
Putin, for his part, said that Russia would "very soon" remove work permit sanctions against Turkey.
"Erdoğan raised this issue today," he said, adding they especially discussed the situation of the Turkish workers in construction sector.
"We agreed on the date when this [sanction] will be removed. This ban will be lifted as soon as possible," Putin said.
He added technical issues remained in this regard, saying: "We will continue to solve other issues."
After the Nov. 24, 2015 jet crisis, Moscow took several measures against Turkey, including restriction of visa-free travel to a ban on imports of certain foodstuffs and a ban on the sale of Turkish holiday packages by tourist agencies to Russians. Russia had also called on its nationals to boycott Turkey as a tourist destination following the crisis.
Since last summer, Russia has relaxed the sanctions imposed on Turkey in response to the jet incident and the countries have worked together to bring a cease-fire and political solution to Syria.
Turkey, Russia agree to establish joint investment fund
Turkey and Russia on March 10 signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint investment fund in a bid to strengthen bilateral ties and investment flow.
The agreement was signed during Erdoğan’s official visit to Moscow, according to a written statement from Turkey Wealth Fund, TVF, state-run Anadolu Agency said.
Each country is to invest up to $500 million in the Turkey-Russia Joint Fund, the statement said.