In Ankara, Vladimir Putin held talks with the President of the Turkish Republic, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The presidents of the two countries held a bilateral conversation, then the consultations continued in an expanded format.
On the Russian side, Presidential Assistant Yuri Ushakov, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration Dmitry Peskov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation - First Deputy Defense Minister Valery Gerasimov, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Yevgeny Gromyko, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for the Syrian settlement Alexander Lavrentiev, head of Rosatom Alexei Likhachev, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, Russia's Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Turkey Alexei Erkhov.
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Press statements following the Russian-Turkish talks
RT Erdogan (as translated): Dear friend, President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Putin!
Dear members of the delegation, distinguished representatives of the press!
I cordially greet all of you here.
First of all, I want to express pleasure in connection with the fact that once again we meet my friend, Mr. Putin, here in our country. As a result of the meetings, we managed to discuss our bilateral relations, the development of regional events, and our respective bodies met.
During the current year, my dear friend and I have met for the fifth time. We often make phone calls about the issues on the agenda. Undoubtedly, such meetings have not been held so often between Russia and Turkey, but it should be noted that we have already reached the necessary good level. In addition, our ministers are in close contact with their Russian counterparts.
As a result of our common efforts, we are seeing that our relations are strengthening and continuing our cooperation, which pleases us. Inshallah! - in the very near future we will accelerate this momentum.
We agreed on the commencement of preparatory work on political, economic, cultural and public issues, which will be considered during the seventh meeting of the Cooperation Council of the highest level. Both countries - both Turkey and Russia - attach great importance to the work of the meetings. Next year, on the occasion of the next meeting, Mr. Putin will once again be in our country.
Economy and trade are the main part of our bilateral relations. We have just discussed some exceptions, of which we have not reached the required level.
In the first seven months of this year, we increased the trade volume of our relations, the number of Russian tourists increased very seriously compared to last year.
We also came to an agreement that there are ways to increase our economic figures. As you know, we set the task to reach a mark of 100 billion in our trade relations. We hope that we will achieve results on critical issues of our bilateral economic relations during the meeting of the mixed economic commission.
Energy is also one of the main parts of our relationship. "Turkish flow", the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project - these projects are continuing, we attach great importance to their fastest implementation. During our meeting, we also reviewed these projects. We believe that our respective bodies will accelerate this process.
Dear representatives of the press!
We also today discussed the situation in Iraq and in Syria. We attach great importance to the territorial integrity of Iraq, to the sovereignty and political unity of Iraq.
Unfortunately, our region has, unfortunately, become more fragile. The Kurdish regional administration of Iraq, unfortunately, held a referendum, which led to an undesirable regional crisis.
This referendum is considered illegal under the Iraqi constitution and international law. Unfortunately, the regional administration - despite a friendly warning - carried out a referendum, making a big mistake. For the sake of personal short-term interests, no one has the right to strain the situation, make it explosive. I told dear Putin that we must prevent precisely those steps that could lead to even more terrible mistakes on the part of the regional administration.
With dear friend, President Putin, during today's meeting we discussed the actual developments in Syria, as well as the results of the last Astana meeting. In this regard, we discussed the work aimed at making the de-escalation zone functional in Idlib. I believe that the relevant bodies will work intensively in this direction.
We are pleased with the Astana meetings that strengthen the ceasefire, which contributes to the ongoing political process in Geneva with the mediation of the United Nations.
We also agreed that there is a need to further focus our attention on confidence-building measures that have for some time been on the agenda of the Astana meetings. Once again, we reaffirmed our determination on the common will and close cooperation aimed at the political settlement of the Syrian conflict.
I believe that our meetings held today with my dear friend Putin were productive. As during telephone conversations, and in the course of contacts, we will continue our cooperation.
Thank you very much.
I give the floor to Mr Putin.
V.Putin: First of all, I want to thank our friend, dear President of Turkey, for the invitation.
Dear ladies and gentlemen, we have just finished the next round of negotiations, the next meeting, to be precise.
This meeting was of a purely working nature, allowed us to openly and frankly exchange views on issues of bilateral cooperation in various fields, and talk about our further joint actions in the context of the settlement of the Syrian crisis.
If you do not mind, I'll start with this. "
The readiness to follow the agreement reached in mid-September in Astana, at the sixth International meeting on Syria, the final agreements on the creation of four zones of de-escalation, including the largest of them - in the province of Idlib.
Let me remind you that the initiative to create zones of de-escalation in Syria was put forward at our meeting with Mr. Erdogan in May this year in Sochi.
We must admit that the work to implement this idea was very difficult - both for the parties involved in the Syrian conflict, and for the guarantor countries of the "Astana" process: Russia, Turkey and Iran. But, despite the difficulties, we still managed to achieve a positive result.
I consider these agreements to be our common and extremely important success and success of our friend, Mr. Erdogan, because he is one of the initiators of this process.
In fact, the necessary conditions have been created for ending the fratricidal war in Syria, the final destruction of the terrorists and the return of the Syrians to peaceful life, to their homes. This is an absolutely principled thing that is important not only for the Syrian people, not only for the region, but for the whole world: we create conditions for the return of refugees to their homes. And this is fundamentally important for stepping up the process of searching for a long-term political settlement in Geneva under the aegis of the UN.
Of course, the situation in connection with the referendum on independence held in Iraqi Kurdistan was also discussed. Russia's principal position is known, it is set out in the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Today we discussed this in detail with the President.
We agreed with Mr. President to continue close contacts through the ministries of foreign affairs, military and special services in order to deepen coordination of joint actions to resolve the crisis in Syria, to solve other regional problems.
When discussing the issues of cooperation in the trade and economic sphere, they noted a noticeable growth in bilateral trade. Its volume for seven months of this year increased by 31,5 percent. If last year we observed a fall in 32 per cent for the year, now in the first six months we have almost completely recovered the lost positions and for the remaining year we will definitely completely go into the plus.
The number of Russian tourists who chose Turkey as their holiday destination has increased - I ask attention - in 11 times, amounted to 2,5 million people.
Such noticeable progress became possible as a result of the consistent implementation of the agreements reached during the sixth meeting of the Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council held in Moscow in March and our subsequent meetings with our colleague and friend, Mr. Erdogan.
In detail, we examined key aspects of joint strategic projects in the energy sector. I mean the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline and the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant.
Quite recently, in June, we with the President of Turkey gave start to the laying of the deep-water part of the "Turkish Stream". Currently, all construction work is strictly on schedule.
We expect to build and put into operation the first power unit of the nuclear power plant in a short time [Akkuyu]. Of course, this will require coordinated actions from us and our Turkish partners, including the timely receipt of necessary permits, documents and licenses.
We will continue on a reciprocal basis to take joint steps to remove barriers to the development of trade and investment cooperation.
So, the substantive work of the relevant ministries and departments of the two countries allowed to remove almost all the existing restrictions on the supply of Turkish agricultural products to Russia. As a result, its imports from Turkey in the first half of this year increased by 58,7 percent.
In conclusion, dear colleagues, I would like to thank Mr. President, all our Turkish colleagues for a very constructive business and for the fact that they have created a very friendly environment for a frank discussion and exchange of views during today's meeting. I believe that today's meeting was very useful and very productive.
Thank you for attention.