Ankara, Moscow work on plan to make bilateral trade, tourism on lira, ruble: Minister
AA photoTurkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said technical work for bilateral trade and tourism on the Turkish Lira and Russian ruble has been initiated between the two countries, noting that the recent crisis has negatively impacted both nations and it was now time to recover all losses, in a joint meeting on Aug. 31.
“The developments following the sad incident between Turkey and Russia have hit both [countries]. The bilateral trade ties have plunged and our tourism ties have seen losses of more than 70 percent since then. It is a lose-lose game,” he said at the Turkish-Russia Media Forum in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya, as Doğan News Agency reported.
He noted that both countries have voiced their sincere intention to return bilateral ties to normal, and even improve them.
“The free trade talks have resumed between Turkey and Russia, as well as the launch of a joint investment fund,” he said.
“We have also been undertaking a series of technical works to use the ruble and the lira in bilateral trade. We also aim to enable Russian citizens visiting Turkey to make payments in their own currency. The same will then apply for Turkish citizens visiting Russia. Our aim is to reach our joint $100 billion in bilateral trade volume annually on the ruble and the lira,” noted Zeybekci.
Zeybekci also added that senior energy officials from both countries would likely meet in Istanbul in October.
“Russia has invested some $70 billion into Turkey so far. We want to enable businesses from both sides to cooperate more and create joint projects. In this vein, we have accelerated our steps to establish the joint investment fund. Turkish companies have already invested over $10 billion in Russia. In the upcoming period, they will likely make new construction projects there,” he noted.
Emphasizing that Turkey and Russia complemented each other, Zeybekci said that both countries could make joint investments in various fields.
EU: A strategic target
He also noted that it was not important for Turkey to be a European Union member at the end of the accession period, but to fulfil the EU standards as a strategic target, upon a question at the summit.
Turkish Tourism Minister Nabi Avcı said that it was a must for Turkey to offer safe and comfortable travel and holiday opportunities, as had been the case earlier.
“Media outlets from both countries will play a key role in boosting the tourism ties again… We can also create joint projects in the television and movie sectors,” he noted, adding that high-level Russian-language educational institutions can be established in Antalya, where many Russian people lived.