President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, who is in Istanbul to attend the 23rd World Energy Congress, at the Presidential Pavilion at Yıldız Palace. Following the meeting, an intergovernmental agreement was signed for the Turkish Stream Natural Gas Pipeline Project, which will carry Russian natural gas to Europe through Turkey.
After their tete-a-tete meeting and the talks between the delegations, President Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Putin addressed a press conference.
TURKISH STREAM AGREEMENT
Ahead of the press conference, an intergovernmental agreement was signed for the Turkish Stream Natural Gas Pipeline Project, which will carry Russian natural gas to Europe through Turkey. The signatures were put to the agreement by Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey Berat Albayrak and Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak in the presence of President Erdoğan and President Putin.
In his address to the press conference, President Erdoğan stated that the 23rd World Energy Congress, the opening session of which was held earlier in the day, was to last two days, and that the Congress was expected to witness a large number of meetings between ministers and experts addressing a vast array of issues.
Noting that he and his counterpart Putin came together at the opening session of the Congress, President Erdoğan said they thereafter held their tete-a-tete meeting and added that relevant ministers and experts were to continue the meetings. President Erdoğan expressed that issues related to energy, economy, trade, defense, tourism and culture were on the agenda of their tete-a-tete.
“NORMALIZATION PROCESS OF TURKEY-RUSSIA RELATIONS WILL PROGRESS RAPIDLY”
Describing their meeting on Turkey-Russia relations as very productive, President Erdoğan said that the Turkish Stream project had been rendered ready for the signatures, and added: “I strongly believe that the normalization process of Turkey-Russia relations will progress rapidly. We will improve and further strengthen our relations in many fields including the defense industry, politics, economy, trade, tourism, culture, etc. We gave instructions to our foreign ministers regarding our High Level Consultative Council Meeting. We will hold this meeting by the end of this year or at the beginning of next year. Given the urgency of the Joint Economic Commission meeting, our relevant ministers will hold this meeting without delay. This meeting, which will take place in Turkey, bears importance.”
DEVELOPMENTS IN SYRIA AND OPERATION EUPHRATES SHIELD
Citing another sensitive topic of the meeting as the current developments in the region, President Erdoğan said: “We addressed the Syrian issue in depth. We talked about the Operation Euphrates Shield and discussed how we can cooperate on this issue. We evaluated our respective responsibilities about humanitarian aid in Aleppo, in particular, so as to help habitants of the city achieve peace as soon as possible. A progress will be made on this issue through meetings between our foreign ministers, military chiefs and heads of intelligence organizations.”
Noting that Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant was also addressed during the meeting, President Erdoğan underlined that Turkey and Russia agreed on a fast progress of the Akkuyu process. The President expressed his belief that the time lost in the past with regards to Akkuyu would be made up for in the coming period.
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN: “WE ALSO AGREED TO CONTINUE WORKING ON THE COMPLETE NORMALIZATION OF OUR RELATIONS”
Thanking President Erdoğan for the invitation to the 23rd World Energy Congress, Russian President Putin said: “As for bilateral relations, today we had very constructive talks on a series of important issues. We agreed to continue making the necessary efforts to completely normalize our bilateral ties. In this connection, I would like to point out that today the Russian Government decided to give an entire group of Turkish goods access to the Russian market. These are agricultural products: stone fruit and citrus fruit. This is a mutually beneficial decision. The Russian agricultural sector does not produce these kinds of fruit, and we expect a price decrease after the Turkish goods enter the market. For our Turkish partners this is, naturally, entry to the Russian market. Let me remind you that sales of these Turkish goods on the Russian market were at $500 million in 2015. Therefore, this is an important decision.”
Noting Russia’s interest in the complete normalization of Turkey-Russia relations, Russian President Putin continued: “We also agreed to continue working on the complete normalization of our relations, and the intergovernmental commission will get started on this soon. I would like to confirm Russia’s interest in this. We also spoke about cooperation in energy and further work on the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant project. I would like to point out that this is not simply about the construction of a power plant. This is about the creation of an entire new high-tech energy sector in Turkey with technology transfer and personnel training. Over 200 young future Turkish experts are currently studying in Russia.”
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN: “BOTH RUSSIA AND TURKEY SUPPORT PUTTING AN END TO THE BLOODSHED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE”
Also touching upon the Syrian issue, President Putin of Russia said: “As the President of Turkey pointed out, we spent a great deal of time on regional issues today, primarily on the situation in Syria, naturally. Both Russia and Turkey support putting an end to the bloodshed as quickly as possible. Russians believe that a political settlement process should begin as soon as possible. We believe that everyone who really seeks peace should support these proposals. We share the opinion that everything should be done to deliver humanitarian aid to Aleppo. The problem is only in ensuring the security of deliveries.”
Recalling their proposal to the US for the withdrawal of Syrian troops and opposition forces from Castello Road, which is the main route to deliver humanitarian aid to Aleppo, Russian President Putin stated: “I informed our Turkish partner that we proposed to our US colleagues that we do everything in our power to withdraw Syrian troops and opposition forces from Castello Road which can and should be used to deliver humanitarian aid to Aleppo, so that provocations involving strikes on humanitarian convoys will not happen again. Our US partners actually refuse to do this. They are either unable or unwilling for some reason. I hope that this will be one of the topics for discussion at the talks that are to take place in Switzerland on Saturday.”
President Putin of the Russian Federation also underlined that they were prepared to develop military and technological cooperation and replenish it with serious projects of mutual interest.