Turkey, Russia determined to boost ties: Erdogan

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey and Russia are determined to boost ties to levels even beyond what they were before the jet crisis erupted last November.

In remarks made during a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Russian city of St. Petersburg following their meeting, Erdogan said: “Both sides are immensely determined and have the necessary will to move our relations back to previous levels again and even beyond them.

“I am of the opinion that the public of both countries expected this from us. That’s why, at the end of the meetings today, we have taken decisions to move Turkey-Russia relations to the levels they must be in political, financial, cultural and humanitarian fields.”

The Turkish president also revealed that Turkey and Russia had agreed on establishing a joint investment fund and boosting cooperation in the defense sector.

Putin described his meeting with Erdogan as “concrete and constructive”.

This is the first time both leaders have met following the downing of a Russian warplane last November over airspace violation.

The Russian president announced at the press conference that Russia would revive cooperation mechanisms with Turkey and lift sanctions against Turkish firms incrementally in order to restore trade ties to previous levels.

About Syria, Putin acknowledged that the two countries held different views, but shared the same end goal.

About the Turkish Stream pipeline, Erdogan said the project would now be executed “as fast as possible.”

Announced by Putin in December 2014 during a visit to Ankara, the Turkish Stream plans to carry Russian gas via the Black Sea and Turkey to southeastern Europe. The project was shelved following the crisis in November 2015 when a Turkish Air Force warplane shot down a Russian jet over the Turkey-Syria border.

Relations between the two countries had remained soured until the issue seemed largely resolved on June 29 through a letter and subsequent telephone calls between the countries’ leaders. On June 30, Russia lifted a ban on tourist flights to Turkey following a phone conversation between Putin and Erdogan.

Turkish and Russian foreign ministers later met in the Russian city of Sochi on July 1. Putin gave his support to Turkey over the July 15 coup attempt and said he stood by the elected government, offering his condolences to the victims of what Erdogan called the “most heinous” armed coup attempt in modern Turkish history.

On July 22, Russia also lifted restrictions on flights to Turkey, which had been implemented temporarily following the coup attempt, after Turkish officials assured their Russian counterparts that additional security measures were being taken.


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