Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan chaired the eighth meeting of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council.
The discussion covered various aspects of Russian-Turkish cooperation, including energy, as well as regional and international issues.
Earlier that day, the two leaders held a restricted meeting to consider priority issues of developing bilateral relations.
* * *
Beginning of the High-Level Cooperation Council meeting between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues and friends,
I am very happy to welcome all of you at the eighth meeting of the Russian-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council. Mr President and I have just discussed, at the limited attendance meeting and then one-on-one, the priority issues of developing Russian-Turkish relations. We agreed to continue developing our cooperation as an advanced multilateral partnership.
Now I suggest discussing in the same businesslike and constructive spirit with the participation of the government members and business representatives specific areas of cooperation and the implementation of major joint projects, and mapping out guidelines for the further expansion of mutually beneficial contacts.
The current Cooperation Council meeting was preceded by serious interdepartmental and corporate preparations. A host of meetings at all levels were held. Heads of key ministries and departments of the two countries coordinated their positions in the framework of the special mechanisms of political, economic and cultural cooperation that were established at the Cooperation Council.
In particular, the joint strategic planning group members discussed the situation in Syria at a meeting in Antalya. As guarantors of the Astana process, Russia and Turkey continue making energetic, coordinated efforts for the long-term normalisation of the situation in that country. We are coordinating our efforts in the context of stepping up the intra-Syrian political process, particularly with an eye towards forming a constitutional committee as soon as possible.
A regular meeting of the mixed intergovernmental commission took place. It does much to deepen economic ties and boost mutual trade and investment.
Last year, bilateral trade grew by almost 16 percent to over $25 billion. The volume of mutual investment is nearing $20 billion.
I believe that cancelling existing trade restrictions and diversifying the range of products could help expand trade. Launching new joint projects in manufacturing, metallurgy, agriculture and the high-tech sector will promote investment cooperation.
Notably, Russian-Turkish energy cooperation has become truly strategic. Russia is the largest natural gas supplier to Turkey. Last year, 24 billion cubic metres were exported. This covers almost half of the country's needs.
A new gas pipeline, TurkStream, will significantly boost the supply of Russian gas to Turkish consumers when it becomes operational. The deep-water section and Turkey’s coastal section of the pipeline were line up the other day, marking the culmination of a major phase of the construction process.
Next, the construction of the receiving terminal on Turkey’s Black Sea coast has to be completed, so that TurkStream becomes operational before the end of the year, as agreed.
The construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey is another key energy project. The first unit is to launch in 2023, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. At this stage, there is need for bringing in additional funding and executing appropriate agreements with potential Turkish investors, who are available.
Our countries have major goals in strengthening defence cooperation. First of all, this concerns completing the implementation of the contract for the supply of S400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile systems to Turkey. Also on the agenda are other promising projects related to supplying modern Russian military products to the Republic of Turkey.
The priority seems to be the development of bilateral humanitarian cooperation. The Russian-Turkish Public Forum is actively involved in this area. I am confident that the expansion of cultural exchanges, as well as contacts in education, science and tourism, will be spurred on by the Cross Year of Culture and Tourism of Russia and Turkey, which opens today at a ceremony at the Bolshoi Theatre.
Colleagues, I would like to thank you for your attention, and I am pleased now to give the floor to the President of Turkey. Then we will hear reports from the co-chairs of the joint strategic planning group, the intergovernmental commission and the Public Forum.
Please, Mr President, you have the floor.
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (retranslated): Mr President, my dear friend, members of the Russian delegation,
Please accept my warmest greetings.
I am very happy to be in Moscow to attend the eighth meeting of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council. Thank you for your kind invitation and genuine hospitality.
My friend Mr Putin and I have met repeatedly over the year that has passed since the previous meeting of the Council. Our ministers and other authorised persons also maintained close contact.
Together we have broken ground on the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, and completed construction of the offshore section of the TurkStream gas pipeline. Together we set a new record, having received six million Russian tourists in our country last year.
Our business leaders continue contributing to Russia, and now a large number of our businessmen are in Russia. Our Turkish firm Esta has built a plant for the German automobile company [Mercedes-Benz], which was opened by my dear friend Vladimir five days ago.
This year, we mark the Year of Culture and Tourism; the official opening will take place at the Bolshoi Theatre.
We have had the opportunity to discuss bilateral issues, both regional and international, in a one-on-one meeting, while our ministers talked with their colleagues. Now we must give a general assessment of this day together.
Our major target is to reach the $100 billion mark [in trade]. At the moment, we are only at 26. Therefore, we will make every effort to attain this goal strategically, economically and trade-wise – that is, on all tracks.
I sincerely wish that our meeting benefits both our states.
Thank you for your attention.