Russian, Turkish officials discuss restoring economic, trade ties
AA photoThe leading ministers of the Turkish economic administration visited Moscow on July 26 to discuss ways to mend ties with their Russian counterparts for the first time since the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey last November, which strained bilateral relations in a dramatic manner.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci attended a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich at the Government House in Moscow on July 26.
Turkish officials were later scheduled to make separate meetings with leading Russian economy figures.
Russia and Turkey will gradually unfreeze trade and economic relations that soured after Turkey downed a Russian bomber near the Syrian border last November, Dvorkovich told his Turkish counterpart.
“We are here to improve our relations and to bring them to an even higher level than before Nov. 24, 2015,” Şimşek told Dvorkovich at the start of their meeting in the Russian capital, referring to the plane incident, as quoted by Reuters.
Şimşek also thanked Russia for supporting the country’s government during the coup attempt.
“I would like to thank you for support regarding recent events in Turkey, for supporting democracy and the Turkish government,” he told Dvorkovich, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.
Dvorkovich said that Russia confirmed “its official position on the inadmissibility of unconstitutional acts aimed at overthrowing current authorities.”
According to Dvorkovich, Russia was ready for constructive talks with Turkey, but normalization of relations should be phased.
“We are ready for constructive talks. Our meeting will be followed by meetings of a ministerial level. I believe that normalization of our bilateral relations should be phased. We must gradually restore interaction in [the] trade and economic sphere. We are going to discuss this algorithm today,” Dvorkovich said, as quoted by TASS.
‘Good opportunities ahead’
Dvorkovich added that the two countries had good opportunities to expand trade and investment cooperation, including implementation of major projects, and recover tourist flows.
“It is necessary to create appropriate conditions and guarantees of security, let’s talk about it today,” he said, adding that Russia saw good prospects for restoring ties with Turkey.
“The Turkish side apologized and this has created a basis for gradually restoring our relations,” he said.
Dvorkovich said he believed that given the goodwill of the parties, implementation of the Turkish Stream project could progress.
“Ankara confirmed it is open for resuming the dialogue on the project. Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak is going to hold consultations with his colleagues on the topic,” he said.
According to Dvorkovich, “if the parties are willing, we can move quickly,” despite the fact that the project was at an earlier stage than other Russian export pipeline projects, as reported by TASS.
Turkey noted progress in talks with Russia on the gas pipeline project, Interfax news agency reported, citing Şimşek.
The sides also discussed the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, according to news agencies.
Speaking on the resumption of charter flights, Dvorkovich said, “The actual resumption of charter flights will take some time, because the companies will need to carry out the necessary preparatory work.”
Turkey submitted a report to Russia on the safety measures it has taken to resume charter flights, Şimşek said during the talks with his Russian counterpart, as several media outlets reported.
Meanwhile, Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev told journalists that Russia was in no hurry to open its market for Turkey, as it was necessary to support domestic producers.
The Russian government banned a number of food products from entering Russia from Turkey on Jan. 1.