Meeting of High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council


Photo: the Presidential Press and Information Office
With Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
March 16, 2011

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Trade and economic ties development was among major topics at the Council meeting, co-chaired by the President of Russia and Prime Minister of Turkey.

Following talks between Dmitry Medvedev and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a protocol on the operation of the Russian-Turkish Public Forum, and an Agreement on cooperation between the Federal State Unitary Enterprise National Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) and the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) were signed.

The leaders also exchanged notes on the entry into force of the Agreement between the Government of Russia and the Government of the Turkish Republic on Terms for Reciprocal Trips by Citizens of the Russian Federation and the Turkish Republic and the Agreement between the Government of Russia and the Government of the Turkish Republic on Readmission.

The Russian participants in the talks included Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, Presidential Aide Sergei Prikhodko, Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina, Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, and Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation CEO Sergei Kiriyenko.


Press statement following High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council meeting

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,

Prime Minister Erdogan and I chaired the second meeting of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council today. This Council was established only a year ago, but it is already working at full steam, and I hope that it already brings concrete results. We have established its key organisations: the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation, the Special Strategic Planning Group, and the Public Forum. These are the three institutions operating within the High-Level Cooperation Council’s framework.

I think all of these institutions are performing quite well, and we have indeed taken our relations to the level of a multifaceted strategic partnership. I believe we have an immense potential for expanding our trade and economic cooperation even further. Turkey has been one of our country’s major trade partners, after all. In 2009, our bilateral trade came to close to $40 billion. In 2010 it came to $25 billion – the result of the crisis, of course. We plan to increase our trade over the next five years, as we said clearly during my visit to Turkey, and take it to a level unprecedented in our relations – as high as $100 billion a year.

I think that the main potential for developing our trade relations in this way lies in the links between the various cooperation directions we are pursuing, the links between the big projects and the trade ties that exist between our countries’ small and medium-sized businesses, which all add their contribution to our overall bilateral trade.

As far as the large projects are concerned, I have to mention the energy sector projects of course, South Stream, and the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which we discussed in quite some detail today.

Certainly, there is also the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant which is obviously a very important matter too. The colossal tragedy that has struck Japan has no doubt put construction of nuclear power plants into the public gaze, and everyone is asking themselves, can nuclear energy really be safe? The answer is clearly that it can be and is safe, but only if the right decisions are made on nuclear power plants’ location, design, and operators. If these conditions are fully respected, nuclear energy is absolutely safe and extremely useful for humanity.

We have agreed with our Turkish friends that the nuclear power plant built in Akkuyu will use a completely new triply integrated management scheme unifying the three key areas of the plant’s construction, ownership, and operation. This will increase our responsibilities, but our Turkish partners also have every interest in this model. 

Turkey is one of our privileged partners in the innovation sector, of course. It is not by chance that we seek to develop these ties with Turkey. We expect to continue our cooperation in the telecommunications sector (one of the subjects we specifically discussed today), the pharmaceuticals industry, and space research.

We think there are good cooperation prospects in investment, and in the banking and infrastructure sectors. We also want to pursue our ties in the construction industry. Our relations in this sector are good overall. Likewise, we want to keep developing our cooperation in light industry in line with the agreements we have, and in agriculture and the metals sector. We have a good example here. Just a week ago, a modern metallurgical plant was launched in the town of Iskenderun. Russian and Turkish companies worked on its construction together.

Certainly, we also want our Turkish partners to be involved in the subcontracting projects that are implemented within our preparations for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Sochi is close to Turkey after all, and this gives our Turkish friends some advantages.

We likewise welcome Turkey’s involvement in preparations for the other major international events that Russia will host in the coming years. I am referring to the World University Games in Kazan in 2013, and the football world cup, of course, as well as other opportunities in Russia today.

We will also intensify our humanitarian ties, our contacts in culture, science and education. Our bilateral Public Forum met today, and its co-chairs reported on the results and have just signed a special document. I think this is very important too, because our ties must not be limited to the economy alone.

We have a huge amount of tourism between our countries, and we just signed a document on this area too, which will undoubtedly do its bit as it opens the road towards fully visa-free travel.

Naturally, Mr Erdogan and I discussed not only domestic and bilateral matters, but also talked about international security, the problems in our region of course, in the Middle East, and in North Africa, given what is happening in that part of the world at the moment and the serious problems that a number of countries face right now. We discussed a few matters concerning the situation in the Balkans, in the Trans-Caucasus, and certainly spoke about Black Sea region cooperation, which is obviously very important for both countries, given that we are two major players in the Black Sea region.

We noted that Russia and Turkey are both ready to make their contribution to ensuring regional and global security. We will continue this cooperation on a bilateral basis and in multilateral forums. 

Once more, I want to thank my colleague, Prime Minister Erdogan, for today’s constructive work and for the good spirit in which our talks took place.

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