Turkish business group lobbies in Moscow for visa-free travel

Turkish business group lobbies in Moscow for visa-free travel

Deniz Zeyrek - MOSCOW
Turkish business group lobbies in Moscow for visa-free travel A business delegation led by the head of Turkey’s top business organization, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), has met their counterparts and Russian officials in Moscow to discuss a variety of issues ahead of a mixed economic council meeting between the two countries. 
The delegation presented a total of 13 problems which they have faced since the eruption of the since-resolved jet crisis between Turkey and Russia last November, mainly the visa problems they have faced.
These issues and resolution advisories will be discussed further in the upcoming mixed economic council meeting in October. In a bid to resolve the problems, a memorandum of understanding will be prepared and presented to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

The delegation was led by TOBB President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, who was invited by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), and was composed of a number of leading businesspeople who have faced serious problems in the Russian market after the diplomatic crisis started, including Limak Holding chair Nihat Özdemir, Yenigün Construction chair Mithat Yenigün, ETS and Atlas Global chair Ali Murat Ersoy and Fiba Holding chair Hüsnü Özyeğin, among others. 

A big obstacle before improving ties

The delegation also found an opportunity to discuss their problems and voice their offers to a series of top Russian officials, including problems in trade ties, limitations over civil aviation trips, the nonfunctioning of free market rules in the gas market and the ongoing black propaganda against Turkish-made goods in Russia. 

Of these topics, the visa issue topped the agenda, as Turkish businesspeople said that they were kept waiting at passport control upon entering the country, even though they arrived in private jets by grace of the Russian state, and were offered only a three-day visa. 

They noted that such practices constituted a big obstacle on the path to improving bilateral ties. 

Hisacıklıoğlu said the mixed economic council meeting, which will be held in Istanbul, was of great importance, as some key decisions were expected to be made on the topics which were discussed in Moscow. 

Two businesspeople, one Russian and one Turkish, will be named co-presidents of the council, while a series of subcommittees will be established to address problems in the tourism, industry, construction and agriculture sectors, among others.