President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, friends, it is a great pleasure to see you here in Sochi.
We’re very close to your home country here since we’re neighbours along the Black Sea. I want to thank you for finding the time to come to the opening of these Olympics. I also take this opportunity to wish your athletes success, all the more so as, as far as I know, Russian coaches have trained your figure-skating pair, and so we will be supporting them too.
I am very pleased to have this chance to meet with you on the sidelines of the Olympics. Turkey is without question one of Russia’s privileged partners. We have very good relations and they are showing good development. It is enough to say that four million Russian tourists visited Turkey last year. This is an impressive figure.
Since the early 1990s, Turkish construction companies have carried out work in Russia worth a total of more than $50 billion. This is also a big result. I take the opportunity here to thank Turkish builders for working on the facilities in Sochi.
Our specialists are all very happy with the work. The Turkish builders have worked very professionally, putting all their time and energy into the job, and have made a substantial contribution to the Olympic preparations. In this sense, this is our common achievement.
Our trade and economic ties are growing. We are priority partners for each other in terms of trade, although our trade volume did drop slightly last year.
In short, we have plenty to discuss and we are very happy to see you.
Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (retranslated): First of all, I want to say how happy I am to be your guest here at the Olympic Games.
We are indeed taking part in these Olympics in our small way, in the figure skating. This is a first step for us.
I also followed the work our construction firms did as part of the preparations for the Olympics.
Our bilateral trade is at a good level at the moment. There was a slight drop, but I think that we can make up the lost ground.
Our energy sector cooperation is of great importance.
The FIFA World Cup that you will host is also good news, and I think that our construction companies will be ready to give this event their support too.
Vladimir PUTIN: I am sure they will.
Recep TAYYIP ERDOGAN: I think that today’s Olympic opening ceremony will be a symbol of peace and freedom. I hope that many new records will be set during the Games.
Vladimir PUTIN: Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister.