Russian President’s Statement Following Talks With Turkish Counterpa


President of the Russian Federation website
May 12 2010

Press Statement following Russian-Turkish Talks May 12, 2010 Ankara

Gul,ladies and gentlemen,

Today is indeed a special day in Russian-Turkish relations, and
it continues the large amount of work accomplished recently, the
meetings we have held, and the visit that Mr President made to
Russia last year. Mr President, I want to start by thanking you
for the reception accorded the Russian delegation and myself here,
on hospitable Turkish soil.

We had the opportunity yesterday to discuss a wide range of issues
in an informal setting. We discussed international issues above all,
but also spoke about our bilateral economic ties and discussed the
development of our political systems. We went through practically
everything on the very wide-ranging agenda of Russian-Turkish

Our relations have undergone radical change over these last
years, and today we really can say that we now have strategic and
very diverse ties that reflect practically every aspect of our
lives. Several significant agreements were signed here just now,
laying good foundations for cooperation in the transport sector,
and in law enforcement, which is very important too, given that both
of our countries face all manner of threats, including terrorism. We
signed agreements that expand opportunities for higher education. A
whole series of other important agreements were signed during the
first meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council, which has been
established specially to support the dialogue between our countries.

We really do have excellent opportunities for developing our economic
cooperation. Our trade relations are recovering quite fast from
the effects of last year’s crisis. I have already cited the figures
today. Over the first two months of this year our bilateral trade
increased by more than a third. If this pace continues, by the end
of the year we should reach the level we had in 2008. The ambitious
goal of tripling our bilateral trade that my colleague, President Gul,
spoke about is looking more and more realistic. Perhaps this figure
of $100 billion per annum still seems rather hard to attain at the
moment, but I think that, overall, this is a goal we can achieve. If
we reach this level it will serve as an example for all of Europe.

I remind you that the Russian Federation’s bilateral trade with the
European Union currently comes to around $200 billion. It stood at
$250 billion before the crisis. Comparing these figures and the goals
we have set, this is good reason for us to work hard and good reason
too for the European Union to reflect on developing its relations
with Russia and Turkey.

We discussed a wide range of issues today. We examined individual
aspects of our economic cooperation, and these discussions will
continue with the Prime Minister. But I want to say that no matter
which field we look at, we have taken our cooperation to a new level,
whether in the energy sector, including oil and gas and nuclear
energy, the transport sector (we just signed agreements here), and
tourism, in which we will take a big step forward today, opening
up new opportunities for developing tourism through our decision to
abolish visas for each other’s citizens. This is really a historic
event. Then we also have a great number of cultural and humanitarian
projects that also add to this visit’s results.

Yesterday and today, the President and I concentrated on international
issues. Russia and Turkey are working together to maintain global
and regional stability. Sitting in the President’s office just now
we spoke about the fact that the Black Sea countries themselves, and
above all the region’s two biggest countries, Russia and Turkey, bear
direct responsibility for the situation in the region. In this regard
I want to say once again that we are ready to keep working in this
direction. We must observe in full the international laws in place,
including the well-known Montreux Convention, and take a friendly
line on intra-regional ties, but as I said, the main responsibility
lies with our countries, with the countries of the Black Sea region.

We discussed efforts to counter threats and prevent extremism
and terrorism, and we will do everything we can to improve
cooperation between our law enforcement agencies, military agencies
and intelligence services, because these threats are not abstract
issues for our countries but, sadly, are absolutely real, and we find
ourselves at times having to take tough measures to deal with these
dangers, and will continue this combat.

We share very close views on the Middle East peace process. I arrived
in Ankara from Damascus. We spoke about how to perhaps make this
process more active, make some innovative moves, and I made a number of
proposals to the President. I think that we all need to keep working
in this direction because there has been something of a slowdown in
the process of late, and this is having an impact on the situation in
the Middle East and on living standards there. The situation in Gaza
is in such a state now that it is close to humanitarian disaster,
and even if we cannot solve all of the problems right away, we at
least need to make every effort to get the various countries that
share a sense of responsibility for the development of events in the
region to work on these issues more effectively, so as to bring us
closer to actual solutions and decisions.

We discussed the situation in Iraq yesterday and spoke too about
the situation in Iran. We share the view that international efforts
are required in this region. Our position on Iran is clear. On this
matter we share a similar view to that of Turkey. We discussed the
need to undertake all necessary efforts to stabilise the situation
and incite Iran to take a constructive line, while at the same time
emphasising the need to resolve this problem through peaceful means.

Russia and Turkey share an interest in consolidating stability in
the Caucasus region, including by settling the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict. The Russian Federation will continue to work on advancing
this process, using its influence and every possibility available
to it. Of course, we will consult on these issues with our Turkish
partners too.

We discussed issues in the Balkans and also spoke about the problem
of a settlement in Cyprus. We agreed to continue our contacts and
cooperation on these European matters, including with regard to the
Russian Federation’s initiative on the European Security Treaty. The
President sent me his comments on the draft treaty proposed by Russia,
and I am very grateful to President Gul for the attention he has shown.

Once more, I want to thank the President for this trusting, friendly
and constructive dialogue that began with our informal meeting and
continued during our talks today. I stress the fact that partnership
between our countries is fully in keeping with our peoples’ interests
and is an important stabilising factor in our region and on the
international stage in general.