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Putin, Erdogan agree to continue efforts to improve bilateral ties

Russia and Turkey have agreed to intensify contacts between their defense ministries, speed up cooperation in energy, space spheres, coordinate positions on Syria, lift restrictions on import
 Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
© Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

ISTANBUL, October 10. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday he is satisfied with his today’s talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Today, we had really substantive talks on a range of issues of major importance for us," he told journalists after the talks, adding that they "agreed to continue efforts towards complete normalization of bilateral relations."

The Russian leader thanked his Turkish counterpart "for the attention he is paying to the development of Russian-Turkish relations and for the cordial reception offered to the Russian delegation." Putin also congratulated Erdogan "on the very worthy organization" of the World Energy Congress.

The Russian president called Turkish partners "friends."

Erdogan noted that the Turkish-Russian relations continue improving fast. "I am sure that the process of normalization of Turkish-Russian relations is going full steam ahead," Erdogan said, adding that the next meeting of Russian-Turkish intergovernmental commission will be held in Turkey.

"Our ministers have been instructed to hold talks within the framework of the joint intergovernmental commission, bearing in mind the urgency in the context of this work," he said, adding that this session of the commission is of major importance for bilateral relations.

"We also instructed our foreign ministers to prepare a meeting of the Turkish-Russian top-level Cooperation Council. It is to be held either at the end of the current year or at the beginning of the next year," he said.

Military contacts

According to Putin, Russia and Turkey have agreed to intensify contacts between their defense ministries and security services.

"We agreed to intensify our contacts between the defense ministries and secret services," he told a news conference.

"As for cooperation in the sphere of military technical cooperation, we are ready to continue these contacts, to fill them with serious projects of mutual interest," Putin stressed, adding that "initiatives from both sides are being studied."

"I am confident they have all the grounds to be implemented," he said.

Situation in Syria

The Russian president has called to ensure delivery of humanitarian cargoes to Syria’s Aleppo and exclude any provocations and attack on such convoys.

"We have a common position [with Turkey] that it is necessary to spare no effort to ensure delivery of humanitarian cargoes in Aleppo," he said . "The problem is to ensure security of these deliveries."

Putin informed Erdogan about a proposal to the US partners "to spare no effort to withdraw units of the Syrian army and opposition forces from both sides of Castello Road to prevent provocations and attacks on humanitarian convoys."

"The American partners, as a matter of fact, are refusing to do it - they either cannot do it or don’t want to due to some reasons," the Russian leader noted. "I hope it will be a subject for talks due to be held in Switzerland on Saturday."

"We agreed with the Turkish president to do our best to support the initiative of the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy, Mr. de Mistura, on the withdrawal from Aleppo of combat units unwilling to surrender arms in order to stop bloodshed," Putin stressed.

‘We in Russia believe it is necessary to get down to the political process of the settlement (in Syria) as soon as possible," Putin said. "We believe that those who indeed seek peace must support these proposals," he said.

"Both Russia and Turkey come out in favor of an early end to bloodshed," he stated. Putin said Syria was among the focal points in Monday talks with Erdogan, saying "very much time" was devoted to the issue.

Cooperation in space

According to Putin, Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos is ready to take part in a tender for the development and launch of space satellites for Turkey.

"The Russian company Roscosmos is ready to take part in a tender for the development and launch of Turkish communications satellites," he said.

Another topic at the talks, according to the Russian president, was cooperation in the humanitarian sphere. In his words, Turkey has suggested cross years of culture and tourism be held in Russia and Turkey.

"We support this initiative and our relevant ministries will conduct corresponding work on the implementation of this initiative," he said.

Akkuyu nuclear power plant 

Turkish and Russian leaders have agreed to speed up work on the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant.

"During today’s talks we reached a clear-cut agreement to speed up work on implementation of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project. I am convinced we will be able to liquidate the lag behind on this project," the Turkish president said.

Vladimir Putin noted that Russian-Turkish cooperation on the Akkuyu NPP project will create a new hi-tech energy sphere in Turkey.

He added that more than 200 young Turkish energy experts were undergoing training in Russia.

In 2010, Turkey struck a deal with Russia for the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, the first nuclear power facility in Turkey, in Mersin province in southern Turkey. The project provides for the construction of four 1.2 GW nuclear power units.

Turkish products in Russia

The president went on to say that Russia will allow some agricultural products from Turkey to enter the Russian market.

"I would like to draw attention to the fact that today the government of the Russian Federation has made the decision to allow to the Russian market a range of Turkish goods," Putin told reporters after talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Putin specified that this concerned stone and citrus fruits.

The president said this was "a mutually advantageous decision." The Russian agricultural sector does not produce these goods, he said, adding that Russia expected their prices in Russia to decline after Turkey started supplying them to the Russian market.

"For Turkish partners, this is of course opening up of the Russian market". He said "last year 500 million dollars worth of these Turkish products were sold on the Russian market". "This is a major decision (to allow Turkish citrus fruits to the Russian market)," the president stressed.