The Russian side at the talks is represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister – Russian Co-Chair of the Mixed Intergovernmental Russian-Turkish Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation Alexander Novak, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office – Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, presidential aides Maxim Oreshkin and Yury Ushakov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, Director of the Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Management Company Kirill Dmitriev and Director General of the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom Alexei Likhachev.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends,
Welcome to Russia and Sochi.
We agreed to hold this meeting long ago, but this is our first personal meeting since the elections in Turkiye. I have already had the pleasure of congratulating you on the election results, and I would like to do so again during our personal meeting, although several months have already passed.
We continue to maintain the momentum in promoting relations between Russia and Turkiye, facilitated by your direct involvement. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that last year our trade increased by over 80 percent – by 86 percent, I think. This positive trend spilled over into the first half of this year, even if it has not been as massive as last year. But there is still positive momentum.
Our relations are becoming increasingly diverse and not only within the sectors where we have been working together for quite a while, such as agriculture and energy, but also in other areas, which makes me happy.
We have made headway, and I hope that we will complete our talks on establishing a gas hub in Turkiye in the near future, so as to make the energy situation in the region more stable and well-balanced. I believe that this will prove beneficial.
As I have already said, we have expanded opportunities for delivering agricultural produce from Turkiye’s farmers to the Russian market. This volume is very impressive and continues to grow.
We continue to expand our relations in the iron and steel industry, and these relations have very good prospects all the same. As I have said, we are moving very confidently in the sphere of energy. The main suppliers and consumers on both sides have reached agreements, and I hope that this trend will continue, and that we will witness this in the near future.
We continue to build the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant. Today, Turkiye has become a member of the international club of nuclear states, following the delivery of the first batch of Russian nuclear fuel to Akkuyu. We will launch the first power unit next year, all goes according to plan. There are some interesting options for continuing our cooperation here. Today, a very large team of skilled specialists (nearly 25,000 people) continues to work at the NPP.
We have a lot to discuss in the context of maintaining regional security. Of course, we will not overlook issues linked with the Ukraine crisis. I know that you intend to raise questions about the grain deal. We are open to talks on this issue.
Of course, you and I have accomplished a lot for the situation in Syria. I know that the Republic of Turkiye perceives this as a highly sensitive issue; you and I are in the know. To my mind, we should formalise the most important achievements within the framework of the Astana format, and the platform itself, too.
Of course, there are other countries in the region, I mean the Libyan issue. There are many other bilateral and international issues, and we will certainly focus on them today.
Thank you very much for accepting our invitation and for arriving in Sochi today.
President of the Republic of Turkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan (retranslated): Mr President,
First of all, I want to note that this invitation marks a different stage in relations between Russia and Turkiye. This visit is taking place against the backdrop of a war between Ukraine and Russia and the situation that is taking shape in this regard. And your invitation… we are glad to be invited and my delegation is glad to be invited.
Our relations, relations between Turkiye and Russia, especially in terms of foreign trade turnover [are making good headway]: it has reached 62 billion US dollars. We have set the task of bringing foreign trade turnover to 100 billion US dollars, and this makes us happy.
Today, the heads of the central banks [of Turkiye and Russia] are present here and they will hold a separate meeting. This will be an important step forward in trade relations between our countries, a step towards trade in national currencies.
As for the Akkuyu NPP, the developments there are quite positive. The work is still in progress. As you said, the project employs a workforce of nearly 25,000. The developments regarding the first power unit are very good, as we said before. As for a nuclear power plant in the city of Sinop, I think we will take another step in this direction and build a new plant in that city. Creating a gas hub in the Thrace region will make our relations even richer in content.
On the other hand, the tourism industry is yet another important aspect of relations between Turkiye and Russia. Today, Russians outnumber all other guests coming to our country as tourists.
At the same time, I want to note that the most important step… We can say that the world’s attention is on the grain deal. The world public wants to know what will come out of it and what the result will be. I think and I believe that after our contacts and during our news conference we will send the necessary message to the world, especially to the least developed African countries. A step in this direction will be of much importance.
The military and defence industry and the energy sector are two other crucial areas. We have made steps, particularly with regard to natural gas. It is of paramount importance for us that we have good relations with Russia in this field. I think that we will promote our gas-related arrangements.
I also want to note the following: the summer season and forest fires… It is common knowledge that you sent two aircraft to fight wildfires. They did help us a lot. But could we please increase the number of aircraft by at least two, because the danger is still there and the fires pose a great threat? These aircraft are very useful in the context of our efforts to extinguish fires.
I want to thank you again on behalf of my new cabinet ministers. I hope that our meeting and contacts will be of use for our countries and regions.
Thank you very much for the attention.
Following the talks in expanded format with the participation of delegations, the conversation continued one-on-one, in a working breakfast format.
Vladimir Putin: Mr President, you mentioned the effort to fight forest fires.
I want to say that after the terrible earthquake that hit Turkiye, we were among the first to lend a hand to the Turkish people and help ordinary people and the [quake] victims. The same refers to fighting wildfires.
All of this goes to say that you and I have brought Russian-Turkish relations to a very high level, and this is influencing all areas of our collaboration.
I suggest that we work in the following way. First, we will give the floor to the co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Commission, who will provide a general overview of what is going on in our relations, primarily in trade and the economy. Next, possibly, [we will ask] the foreign ministers [to speak].