Lavrov, Davutoğlu to discuss boost in ties

Lavrov, Davutoğlu to discuss boost in ties

Lavrov, Davutoğlu to discuss boost in ties

Foreign Minister Davutoğlu will meet his Russian counterpart Lavrov to discuss ways of boosting bilateral ties and bringing an end to the Syrian crisis. DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Top Russian diplomat Sergei Lavrov will hold a meeting with his Turkish counterpart in Istanbul today to discuss ways of boosting bilateral ties and bringing an end to the two-year-old Syrian crisis.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Lavrov are expected to meet at 10:45 a.m., and the two will hold a press conference around 1 p.m. at Çırağan Palace in Istanbul.

“The meeting is expected to be an opportunity to review the preparations for the fourth meeting to be held in Russia in the second half of the year,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Syria, the Caucasus, the Black Sea, Central Asia and the Balkans will be on the agenda, a Turkish diplomatic source said yesterday, adding that the meetings boosted their economic and social ties.

The economic targets between the countries are “assertive but realistic,” the diplomat also said, adding that the countries’ mutual will was determined in an institutional framework at the meetings. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Syria, Middle East, North Africa and the North Korean crisis will be discussed during Lavrov’s visit.

The meeting will be third of its kind of the Joint Strategic Planning Group (JSPG), which is a sub-organ of the Turkish-Russian High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC).

$100 billion target

“The latest developments in the relations between the two countries, as well as new opportunities for cooperation will be discussed and a comprehensive exchange of views on current regional and international developments will be conducted,” it added. Turkey and Russia have become extremely important economic and trade partners for each other in recent years, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan set a new target of $100 billion in trade volume by 2020.

Although heavily dependent on Russian natural gas, Turkey did not hesitate in allowing a Russian company to build and operate its first nuclear plant.

Turkey and Russia have been at odds over the Syrian crisis, with Ankara leading calls for the departure from power of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Moscow favoring an al-Assad-led transitional government.

Turkey has been witnessing intense diplomatic traffic in recent times. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to stage his third visit to Turkey in two months next week.