Bureaucracy delays Putin’s Turkey visit

Bureaucracy delays Putin’s Turkey visit

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Bureaucracy delays Putin’s Turkey visit

Russia's President Vladimir Putin. EPA photo

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Turkey, which was scheduled to take place Oct. 14 to 15, has been postponed until next month on account of red tape, Turkish officials said.

“The reason for postponing the visit is a delay in the finalization of some preparations for the High Level Cooperation Council due to bureaucracy,” a senior Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

The diplomat rejected claims in the Turkish media that the Syrian crisis had played a role in the delay of the trip, saying it was merely due to preparations for the council meeting.

Turkey and Russia “mutually agreed to push back Putin’s visit” in a phone conversation between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Russian president on Oct. 9, according to the diplomat. Putin now expects to make the visit in mid-November or the thşrd week of November, the official said.

Putin postponed his visit because of his busy schedule, Russia Today reported yesterday citing Kremlin press office officials.

The High Level Cooperation Council must hold a meeting once a year, and the third edition was slated to convene in Turkey in March, the diplomat said, adding that the meeting had been postponed due to elections in Russia.

“In principle, we agreed to hold it after September, and particularly in mid-October,” the diplomat said, adding that no official announcement had been made on the exact schedule for Putin’s visit, implying that Oct. 14-15 was a rough date for the visit. “What is important for us is to hold the High Level Cooperation Council in 2012,” he said. The diplomat said media reports that Putin was planning to propose that Turkey become a member in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization were mere speculation. Energy issues including South Stream, Russia’s planned pipeline to feed Europe, will especially be discussed during Putin’s visit. Russia’s Rosatom is also developing Turkey’s first nuclear plant in the southern province of Mersin. The Syrian crisis is also expected on the agenda.