Turkey is our primary partner: Russia’s Putin

Turkey is our primary partner: Russia’s Putin

Turkey is our primary partner: Russia’s Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meet in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi. AP photo

Turkey is the primary partner of Russia, President Vladimir Putin said Feb. 7 after talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Sochi, putting an emphasis on energy trade between two countries.

Erdoğan was in the Black Sea resort to attend the opening ceremony of the long-awaited Sochi Winter Games. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız and Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç accompanied the prime minister during his visit.

Erdoğan praised the sport complexes built for the event and expressed hopes that the games would serve as a symbol of peace and freedom. “Here I saw the successful works done by Turkish construction companies,” Erdoğan said, adding that Turkish companies could play a similar role for the FIFA 2018 World Cup, which will also be held in Russia.

Erdoğan said the trade volume between Turkey and Russia was in a good condition, while stressing the importance of energy cooperation. For his part, Putin said he was pleased to welcome Erdoğan to Sochi and that Turkey was the primary partner of “close neighbor” Russia.

“We have friendly relations, and it has [more] potential. It is enough to say 4 million of Russian tourists came to Turkey last year and that the construction work by Turkish companies in Russia amounts to $50 billion since the 1990s,” Putin said. “All of our experts are satisfied with Turkish construction companies. They did their jobs in a professional and devoted way.”

Erdoğan is among 40 world leaders who have descended on Sochi to attend the opening ceremony.

The other figures include U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Chinese President Xi Jinping and embattled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who is facing a protest uprising at home. U.S.

President Barack Obama, French President François Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German President Joachim Gauck are not attending the Games.