“We have completed the process of normalization, more do not want to say a word like “normalization”. Want to establish mutual trust,” he said after talks in the Kremlin the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. At a press conference by his colleague Vladimir Putin also noted that relations between Russia and Turkey recovered at all levels. Contacts between the two countries were frozen in the fall of 2015, when the Turkish air force shot down a Russian su-24. Countries, according to Erdogan, lost “serious time as a result of the tragedy, but managed to overcome all problems”.
Putin and Erdogan presided over the sixth meeting of the cooperation Council of the highest level of Russia and Turkey (SWOT), it was also attended by Cabinet Ministers of both countries. The meeting was preceded by the meeting of Turkish and Russian leaders in a narrow range. Before the leaders of Russia and Turkey met in October last year at the world energy Congress in Istanbul. Meetings of the cooperation Council was conducted in December 2014. Next, at the suggestion of Erdogan, will take place in Istanbul.
By results of work in the Kremlin, Erdogan noted that not all areas of Russia revoked the sanctions measures. Turkey wants and expects to see Russia eliminated economic constraints, which are still preserved, Erdogan said. Just as, in his words, it is possible to achieve the strategic goal of $100 billion of annual turnover in bilateral trade.
Ankara is also waiting for Russia to reconsider its decision on visa for Turkish citizens, Erdogan said. The visa was introduced in autumn 2015. “We have agreed that the ban on recruitment of Turkish construction firms in Russia] will be cleared, it will happen soon, the question is purely technical in nature,” — said President Putin.
Cooperation in Syria
Putin emphasized that without the cooperation of Russia, Turkey and Iran, it would be impossible to reach a truce in Syria. Erdogan about the role of Iran is not mentioned. The Turkish leader spoke about the progress of the operation “shield of the Euphrates” in Northern Syria, which managed to release terrorists from banned terrorist organization ISIS of 2200 sq km. Erdogan stated that Ankara would continue its operation, including against the Kurdish militias.
The preservation of the territorial integrity of both Syria and Iraq is extremely important for Ankara, Erdogan stressed that Turkey has with these countries and their peoples have deep cultural and historical ties. “Turkey is now more than 3 million 300 thousand Syrian and Iraqi refugees. We need to ensure that people are safely returned to the territory that rightfully belongs to them”, — said the Turkish leader.
Based on this, Erdogan said, one of the objectives of Turkish operations in Northern Syria can be called the liberation of these lands from the terrorists and return to their owners. “We do not want to occupy anything, we want the same Manbij returned the inhabitants of this city, his home,” declared Erdogan. In August Manbij is liberated from the Islamist Kurdish groups that hold him still. Paramilitary organizations of the Syrian Kurds, Erdogan in his speech was repeatedly called “terrorist groups”.
Mutual Fund and other projects
Russia and Turkey before the crisis in relations negotiated two major energy projects: the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant and the gas pipeline “Turkish stream”. Gazprom, said at a press conference, Putin, is ready to proceed to the construction of “Turkish stream”, two lines for transfer of 15.75 billion cubic meters per year. At first the fuel goes to the domestic market of Turkey, the second through Turkey to Europe, Putin said.
“Rosatom” begins construction of a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, said the Russian President. “We hope that in the near future [this project] will be assigned the status of a strategic investment,” he said. The question of the status of a strategic investment is discussed not the first year, including at a meeting in August last year. However, the status has not yet been granted. Russian-Turkish agreement on construction of NPP Akkuyu on the southern coast of the country was reached in may 2010. The project cost is estimated at $20 billion. the groundbreaking Ceremony of the plant took place in April of 2015. However, after the incident with the downed Russian plane, the project was shelved work on it resumed in August 2016.
One of the outcomes of the summit was the decision to create a new joint investment Fund with capital up to $1 billion Russian direct investment Fund and the sovereign Fund of Turkey will invest in the establishment of the Russian-Turkish investment Fund to $500 million on each side, says the message of the RDIF.
The road to normalization
The course for the restoration of bilateral relations began on 9 August 2016 as a result of negotiations between the two leaders in St. Petersburg. Then Putin and Erdogan agreed to resume work on the project NPP “Akkuyu.” The subsequent series of tragic events, including the murder of the Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov in Ankara and the death of three Turkish soldiers from the impact of the Russian HQs in the town of al-Bab in the North-East of the province of Aleppo in Syria, has not prevented the strengthening of bilateral relations and cooperation.
At the end of December last year, with the assistance of Russia, Turkey and Iran between the Syrian government and the armed opposition reached an agreement on a truce. The new format of inter-Syrian peace talks started under the mediation of the three countries in Astana, which had established a tripartite mechanism for monitoring observance of the cease-fire. Following the meeting in Astana is scheduled for March 14-15.