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Putin and Erdogan to discuss supplies of S-400, bilateral agenda

In 2017 Putin and Erdogan held 8 meetings and talked over the phone more than 20 times

MOSCOW, April 3. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Ankara on Tuesday as part of Putin’s first visit abroad after reelection as President of the Russian Federation on March 18.

Apart from the Russian-Turkish summit, Putin will also take part in the Russian-Turkish-Iranian trilateral talks where Erdogan and he will be joined by the Iranian President, Hasan Rouhani.

Presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said on the eve of the visit Putin is taking an impressive delegation of Russian government officials and executives of large corporations.

"An unprecedented chain of contacts between the Russian and Turkish Presidents preceded the current summit," he said. "In 2017 alone, Putin and Erdogan held eight meetings and more than twenty telephone conversations."

Item number one on Putin’s itinerary is a teleconference on the occasion of a start of construction works at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. The two Presidents are expected to say welcoming words to participants in the project who will get together on the construction floor of the plant.

At the end of the ceremony, the go-ahead will be given to concrete placement. According to Ushakov, promotion of the project company supervising the construction works to the status of a strategic investor will enable the two sides of make an economy of about $ 10 bln in the process of construction.

The project is expected to cost $ 20 bln overall. The Russian side is financing all the construction works. Under the terms of an intergovernmental agreement, Russian companies have no less than 51% in the plant and another 49% can be sold to foreign investors.

As it puts up the Akkuyu plant, Russia will also lay down the foundations of nuclear industry in Turkey and will help the Turks assimilate the advanced civilian atomic energy technologies there, Ushakov said.

After the video conference, Putin and Erdogan will have talks tete-a-tete where they will take up the vital issues on the bilateral agenda, as well as regional and broader international problems, like the situation in Syria.

"The Russian and Turkish military and intelligence services have established close cooperation in this sphere," Ushakov said, adding that the two leaders would continue the search of joint solutions to political settlement in Syria.

"Putin and Erdogan plan to consider the contents of the Russian-Turkish-Iranian summit that will take place on Wednesday, April 4," he said.

After the talks, the two presidents will chair a session of the presidential cooperation council that will likely pay the biggest attention to the energy sector, as Turkey occupies the position of the second-largest consumer of Russia natural gas. It purchased 29 bln cubic meters of gas in 2017, up 17% versus 2016.

Also, Putin and Erdogan will discuss the supplies of S-400 anti-aircraft defense systems and other pressing issues. Russia is making drastic efforts to complete the supplies of S-400 systems to Turkey before 2020.

"I don’t know to what degree the Russian side will try to meet Turkey’s request," Ushakov said.

Earlier reports said the US threatened with sanctions against Turkey or a refusal to sell F-35 fighter jets if it purchased the S-400’s but the Turkish government made it clear it would not shelve the transaction.