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KAZAN, December 21. /TASS/. Russia’s republic of Tatarstan hopes to preserve investment projects with participation of Turkish investors, the head of the republic said on Monday, noting that Turkish business people had invested about $1.5 billion in the construction of local enterprises.
"They came to believe in our republic, investing $1.5 billion in up-to-date plants where 98% of workers are Russian nationals. These enterprises are residents of Russia," Rustam Minnikhanov said.
"As our president has said, there are political differences between Turkey and Russia, and these issues are settled between our countries at the political level, but as concerns the people - we work within the framework of Russian legislation," the leader of Tatarstan said.
He said Turkish residents felt friendly towards Russia, while for Tatars, who account for more than half of republic’s population, Turks were fraternal people. "We are in the same language group, of the same religious identity, and what the president has said is a major support for us," Minnikhanov said.
"I believe the conflict will find its political settlement, and the projects that we have must be maintained through a joint effort," he added. He said the republic hoped to retain economic ties with Turkey, adding that several major investment projects were negotiated by Tatarstan and Turkey.
About a dozen of major enterprises built by Turkish investors are located in the Alabuga special economic zone.
Tatarstan expects to retain the amount of external investment at the level of this year - $460 million, republic’s leader also said on Monday.
"We are ready to cooperate with everybody who is ready to invest in Tatarstan , we are looking for partners in the Arab world as well, we hope that the Turkish business will stay with us, and we also pin hopes on South-East Asia and on China," Minnikhanov said.
Russian-Turkish relations soured after Russia’s Sukhoi Su-24 frontline bomber from the Russian air task force crashed in Syria on November 24, hit by an air-to-air missile fired from a Turkish F-16 fighter jet.
According to the Russian president, the Su-24 flew at an altitude of 6,000 meters and at a distance of 1 km from the Turkish border at the time it was attacked. Putin called the attack "a stab in Russia’s back delivered by terrorists’ accomplices."
The Russian president said the downed Su-24 plane posed no threat to Turkey as it was carrying out an operation against the Islamic State terrorist organization outlawed in Russia.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s General Staff claimed that the Russian combat plane had violated the Turkish air space. "The attack by the Turkish Air Forde on the Russian SU-24 plane in Syria will have serious consequences for relations between Russia and Turkey," Putin said.
On November 30, the Russian government imposed an immediate ban on supplies of a range of food products from Turkey, suspended several governmental cooperation programs and limited employment of Turkish nationals within the Russian Federation.