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ANKARA, May 3. /TASS/. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Russia to remove all trade sanctions against Ankara for full normalization of relations.
"If we want to reach $100 bln in trade turnover, we need to immediately lift all these restrictions. We would like this to happen and together with Mr. Putin we will be making great efforts to solve current issues and return relations to previous levels," Erdogan said in Ankara ahead of flying to Sochi, where he is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
Erdogan said Russia’s restrictions are "a major obstacle to successfully cultivating" bilateral economic cooperation. "Our ministers earlier discussed the sanctions issue and I will be discussing this with Putin. Lifting restrictions is the most important condition for reaching the $100 bln trade turnover goal."
Turkey seeks to "balance trade and economic cooperation with Russia" as the import and export balance is still in Russia’s favor, he noted. Erdogan also said that visa restrictions should be also lifted for an efficient development of ties.
In March, Turkey decided to introduce duties on grain supplies from Russia at the request of local agricultural exporters. In particular, the exporters were not satisfied with the Russian restrictions on imports of tomatoes and some other Turkish agricultural products.
Earlier this year, the Russian government lifted the ban on exports of onions, cauliflower, broccoli and carnations from Turkey. In October 2016, Russia eased the ban on Turkish agricultural products and allowed the imports of certain types of fruits. Russia still bans supplies of tomatoes and cucumbers from Turkey citing the need to protect domestic production of those vegetables.