Putin sees new opportunities for Turkey-Russia economic, trade ties

Putin sees new opportunities for Turkey-Russia economic, trade ties

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Putin sees new opportunities for Turkey-Russia economic, trade ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with the CEO of Total, Patrick Pouyanne, in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Nov. 28.

Turkey and Russia are finding a variety of ways to boost their trade and economic relations, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said ahead of a visit to Turkey on Dec. 1 for the fifth session of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council.

“Hopefully, together we will be able to increase our mutual trade and enhance the quality of investment cooperation for the benefit of the peoples of Russia and Turkey. We have already agreed with [Turkish President] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that we can bring our mutual trade up to $100 billion,” Putin told state-run Anadolu Agency.

“Turkey has been and remains an important foreign trade partner for Russia. In 2013, our bilateral trade turnover reached $32.7 billion. The accumulated Russian direct investments in Turkey exceed $1.7 billion, and similar Turkish investments in Russia are close to $1 billion. We are both interested in maintaining this positive trend,” he added.

Putin said Russia could increase its trade in foodstuffs with the country. He also proposed new collaboration opportunities in industry, specifically in the aerospace sector.

“Our agenda includes the improvement of trade turnover structure through increasing the share of high-tech products and developing industrial cooperation. In this regard, we are already implementing a number of important joint projects,” he said.

Russian Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works upgraded and expanded the capacity of the İskenderun Iron and Steel Works Company, with investments amounting to $2 billion. The Russian GAZ Group and the Turkish company Mersa Otomotiv also launched a car assembly plant in the northwestern province of Sakarya.

“In terms of volume, Turkey is the second largest buyer of Russian natural gas after Germany, which is delivered through the ‘Western corridor’ with transit through Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria, and through the Blue Stream gas pipeline. Last year, Russian gas supplies to Turkey reached 26.6 billion cubic meters, and this year, most likely, will probably exceed this amount,” Putin stated.

He noted Russia had a clear understanding of how important Russian energy resources are for Turkey’s development.

“That is why we always respond positively to any appeals regarding Russian natural gas exports. In October, we reached an agreement in principle on increasing the annual supply through the Blue Stream pipeline from 16 billion to 19 billion cubic meters and on the engineering works that therefore need to be done. Our experts are keeping a close [eye] on this matter,” he said.

Russia ‘not involved in any project in Cyprus’

The Russian minister also denied that Moscow was involved in any gas projects in and around Cyprus, in response to a question about how the Kremlin evaluates reports about potential Russian energy firms’ projects in Cyprus.

“I don’t know who said what about the issue. But I know that neither the Russian state nor the energy ministry are involved in any gas projects in Cyprus. It is up to private companies to deal with the process, if there is one. They need to know that it will be their own responsibility to deal with any crisis and risks there,” he said.