President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen, dear Turkish colleagues, Mr President!
First of all I would like, of course, to say how happy I am with the outcome of our talks. The current visit of the President of Turkey, Mr Gul, marks a significant stage in the development of Russian-Turkish relations. And these are at the moment not simply relations between equals, but are also very friendly and have very good prospects. We have recently started to call them multifaceted cooperation and multidimensional partnership.
The reflection of this quality of our relations and their special current status can be found in the agreement that we have just signed with the President, the declaration, the joint declaration on moving to a new stage of relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey, the further deepening of our friendship and multidisciplinary partnership. This is a political document, but it is not simply a framework or a formulation; instead, this is the document which will be the basis for the subsequent cooperation in foreign policy, trade and economic relations, and in cultural cooperation.
Turkey is Russia’s most important economic partner. The trade volume between our two countries last year exceeded 32 billion dollars, and according to our statistics, has already reached 34 billion dollars. Thus the task that we faced for some time, to increase this indicator to 25 billion dollars, has really been exceeded. And today our Turkish colleagues have reminded us of that time when the trade between us was a mere 1 billion dollars. That means we can say that over the past decade it has increased by 35 times. That is a very significant indicator.
In the long term we plan, of course, to stimulate bilateral investment, modernise infrastructure and implement major energy projects. Here too we already have good experience of cooperating with the Republic of Turkey, but new opportunities are opening up, and we have discussed some of them today. There is cooperation in the sphere of electricity generation, civilian nuclear power, and we expect these kinds of projects to be implemented.
We have discussed all areas of cooperation in our discussions in both narrow and expanded formats, and we have been given quite a detailed analysis of this cooperation. We have established that there are some problems which exist today and which hinder various issues relating to the development of these relations. I think that it is in our power to give a new dynamism to Russian-Turkish economic cooperation.
We intend to develop inter-regional ties, cultural cooperation, cultural and educational exchanges, and foster direct contact between citizens of our countries. This is linked, of course, to the development of tourism. Incidentally more than two and a half million Russian citizens visit Turkey every year. This is a very significant number.
We have also discussed international issues, inter-regional questions, and of course we have talked about the problems that face us today. Those remain, much as before, those challenges that affect our states: international terrorism as well as other, regional, problems. I think that thanks to our joint action we are fully able to respond to these problems.
It is in our countries’ interests that we bolster the security of the Caucasus region, in order to reinforce security across the Black Sea region. And here, in the first place, we are in complete agreement on a whole host of positions which could provide the necessary level of security. We also welcome a series of initiatives, with which our Turkish colleagues have approached us, in particular I am thinking of the platform of stability and security in the Caucasus. We see the possibility of its realisation and the possibility of introducing more solid and sometimes informal dialogues, to enable the resolution of economic, transport, and energy problems in the region.
Last year’s August crisis showed how important it is that all countries in the region cooperate when such threats arise, and also indicated that we are able to deal with such problems independently, without the participation of extra-regional powers.
We have touched on other international questions, specifically some attention was paid to the regulation of the situation in the Middle East, and in general our positions coincided on the majority of issues that we discussed.
I would like to sincerely thank my colleague, President Gul, for the substantially open dialog which we had, and for the atmosphere of trust which permeated these talks. I expect that this kind of contact, as well as enhancing Russian-Turkish cooperation, will facilitate the development of both our countries.
President of Turkey Abdullah Gul (translated from Russian): Dear Mr President!
Dear representatives of the press!
First of all I would like to say that I am happy with the fact that I have been able to visit a neighbouring, friendly country – the Russian Federation. I would like to acknowledge the hospitality and warmth of the welcome that was given to me, my wife, and to all the members of the Turkish delegation from the very first moments of our arrival on Russian soil.
Mr President Medvedev, I would like to pass on the most deeply felt warmth and friendship from the Turkish to the Russian people. Mr Medvedev perfectly characterised the talks that have taken place: both our one-on-one meeting, and the discussions that involved the delegations, all took place without exception in a professional, constructive, open and fruitful atmosphere. I think this was most helpful.
Our relations have already reached the level of multidimensional positive partnership on a whole range of subjects, something I have talked about today with my Russian colleagues. And those joint political declarations which we have signed today set out new aims, new directions for us to move in, and for the long term future of our relations. I am certain that both our countries command sufficient political will for such a move as we have clearly expressed today.
The relationship between our countries has a history stretching back over five centuries, and is one of good neighbourliness and cooperation. Russia and Turkey are the two most important countries in the region, which are called upon to make a weighty contribution to ensuring peace, stability, security and cooperation across the region. First of all we are satisfied with the high growth rate of trade and economic ties between our countries; the volume of trade has exceeded 30 billion dollars. I am certain that in spite of the problems that exist in this area, we will very soon be able to ensure the improvement of this indicator to 40–50 billion dollars, something that is in the interests of the peoples of both our countries. We support and expand the process of mutual investment by Russian and Turkish businessmen in the economies of our two countries, and we have agreed that we will continue to offer this process our every possible support. The volume of accrued investment is now also of significant size.
We are much pleased by the fact that annually approximately three million Russians choose to take their holidays in Turkey. These people feel at home in Turkey and we are just as happy about this as they are.
As President Medvedev noted, we have also discussed a whole series of international and regional practices and note with pleasure the existing closeness or alignment of our countries’ positions on a clear majority of issues.
It is the first time that my visit is taking place in the format of a state visit. I would like once again to thank Mr Medvedev for his courteous invitation, for his inviting us on this very format of visit, which I gladly accepted. I am certain that my current visit will turn a new page in the history of Russian-Turkish relations to the benefit of the peoples of both our countries.
I would like again to offer you, Mr Medvedev, my most heartfelt thanks for the warm welcome and hospitality we have been shown. I would like to repeat my invitation to you and your spouse to visit Turkey on a reciprocal visit.