ST. PETERSBURG, July 11. /TASS/. Russia and Turkey are setting objectives to form an even more stable basis for the bilateral relations, head of the Russian Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) Eleonora Mitrofanova told the opening of the fifth meeting of the Russian-Turkish Public Forum in St. Petersburg on Thursday.
"We are satisfied with the pace of development of relations with Turkey, which has been achieved lately," noted Mitrofanova, who is also a co-chair of the forum on the Russian side. "We are required to maintain this pace and boost cooperation in the humanitarian sphere."
Rossotrudnichestvo head recalled that the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Turkey will be celebrated in 2020. "We are planning to pay special attention to the common anniversary dates and invite the presidents of the two countries to celebrate them," she said.
"We are facing the tasks of establishing an even more stable and lasting basis for the bilateral relations through deepening the existing ties between the people of the two countries," Mitrofanova stressed.
The expansion of ties
In turn, co-chair of the forum from the Turkish side Ahmet Berat Conkar pointed out that public contacts play a major role in development of relations, opening new horizons for cooperation. "Russia is an important partner for Turkey. The bilateral relations are at a high level, cooperation is growing, particularly in energy security and military technical cooperation," he said.
"The cooperation in the tourism sphere is flourishing. However, absence of visa-free regime between our countries is not up to par with the current level of contact. Scrapping visas will allow us to boost trade and economic cooperation and will have a positive effect on the tourist flow," Conkar is convinced.
"Last year, the number of Russian tourists climbed to 6,9 million," he reported. "We are expecting this number to keep growing in the future."
The Russian-Turkish Public Forum operates within the framework of the High-Level Cooperation Council, formed by the Russian and Turkish presidents in 2010. The Forum is aimed at strengthening understanding between the two countries in cultural, humanitarian, scientific, educational, information and business spheres and at expanding the Russian-Turkish relations through invigorating the civil society potential in both countries. The fifth meeting of the Russian-Turkish Public Forum in St. Petersburg runs until July 12.