Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr. President! Ladies and Gentlemen!
During a recent telephone conversation with Mr. Erdogan, we agreed to hold a meeting in Sochi in order to thoroughly discuss the current state of bilateral relations, give additional impetus to their further development, and continue to exchange views on the situation in the region, including, of course, the Syrian settlement.
As for Russian-Turkish cooperation, we can say that our relations have been practically restored in full. This is confirmed by the growing trade turnover: for the first nine months of this year the growth was 36 percent. There is every reason to believe that we will be able to compensate for last year's recession.
Such progress is largely due to the gradual removal of trade barriers and restrictions. In the development of agreements following the results of our meeting with Mr. Erdogan in Ankara, from 30 October the import of a number of products from Turkey was resumed.
Today we discussed joint measures to eliminate restrictions on other types of agricultural products. With the participation of ministers and heads of leading companies, the key aspects of strategic interaction in the energy sector were considered in detail.
This concerns the "Turkish flow", this concerns the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. In the near future, Rosatom should begin the practical stage of implementing the project. In our plans to launch the first reactor already in 2023 year.
Of course, today we discussed the problems of the Syrian settlement. Against the background of the successes achieved in the fight against terrorists, Mr. President and I are in solidarity with the need to step up efforts to ensure long-term normalization in this country. First of all, to promote the process of political settlement and assistance to the Syrians in post-conflict reconstruction.
I informed the President that at the APEC summit in Danang we, the President of the United States, approved a joint statement reflecting the main approaches to the situation in Syria. Namely: to finally finish off IGIL, strictly to ensure the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian state.
He told the President about the results of his recent trip to Tehran and meetings with the Iranian leadership. In this regard, I would like to note with satisfaction that our joint work with Turkey and Iran, as guarantor countries of the Astana process, continues to bring concrete results. The level of violence has certainly decreased, favorable conditions are created for promoting the inter-Syrian dialogue under the auspices of the United Nations.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Mr. President, all our Turkish colleagues and friends for fruitful negotiations. We have a very good practice of business, informal exchange of opinions, adjusting our plans and summarizing the results of the previous work.
These meetings are very quick, not bureaucratic, without any unnecessary quasi-diplomatic procedures and protocol events, but, in my opinion, very effective. For which we are grateful to our Turkish friends and intend to continue this practice.
R. Erdogan (as translated): Dear Mr. President! Dear representatives of the press! Dear guests! I greet you all with all my heart.
I want to express my gratitude for the hospitality, first of all in the person of Mr. President, to all relevant Russian authorities.
During this year, I have already visited Russia for the third time. And today our meeting with Mr. Putin during this year is already the sixth.
We came to an agreement with Mr. Putin regarding the deepening of our bilateral relations. Our meetings intensively continue both in the format of tete-a-tete, and in the course of telephone conversations.
Proceeding from this, we can say that the preparatory work of the 7 meeting of the Cooperation Council of the highest level has already begun. Along with the political dialogue, we can say that our economic relations have already reached a high level.
During my visit to the Russian Federation in March, my dear friend, Mr. Putin cheered us, saying that the restriction on the importation of some crops to Russia has already been lifted, and also the issues of visa-free regime for the citizens of Turkey are being resolved.
Over the past time, our intensive contacts have continued, and continued to address all existing problems. Last month, an intergovernmental commission completed its work in Kazan.
We were pleased to learn that during this meeting decisions were made such as facilitating the importation of such goods to Russia, such as eggplants, tomatoes, pomegranates and other agricultural crops. But we want all other restrictions also to be eliminated.
In the first quarter of this year, the level of our economic bilateral relations increased by 26,5 percent and exceeded 15 billion. This is the percentage compared to the same period of the past year, an increase of 26 percent.
But we need to remove all the obstacles that stand in the way relatively, first of all, our businessmen, entrepreneurs, in order to achieve the 100-billion mark between our economic relations. In this regard, the return to the former visa-free regime is of great importance.
On the other hand, it also has significance to which we attach importance and assessment, the Turkish Stream project, as well as the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, which continue in their line. We attach great importance to the fact that these projects are timely completed and implemented.
We were happy to learn that the construction of the Russian part, namely the laying of the Russian part of the gas pipeline, has already been completed. Regarding our Turkish part, that is, construction, we are closely following this process.
We wish that in the following weeks we held the ceremony of pouring the first concrete at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. If Mr. Putin's program allows, we wish that we jointly took part in this opening ceremony.
We also want us to reach a new level in the development of the tourism and cultural sector between our countries. Over the first nine months of this year, more than four million Russian tourists visited our country. In 2019, our country will celebrate and mutually organize the Year of Turkey and the Year of Russia, which I believe will be a turning point in our efforts.
During our meeting, we also managed to discuss regional and international issues. This is especially true of the recent events in the Syrian conflict. The Astana meetings, as well as the memorandum on the zones of de-escalation, believe that we have made a definite contribution to the reduction of violence in this region.
We agreed that at the moment there is a ground in which we can focus on the political resolution of this issue. We also attach importance to the joint statement of Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump in Vietnam.
I also want to express my satisfaction with the fact that the relations between our countries have reached a new very strong level. Undoubtedly, this level we consider insufficient.
Both sides agree that countries and peoples should be in close and strong cooperation. I especially attach great importance to joint efforts in the defense industry.
Once again, I want to express my gratitude to Mr. Putin, my friend, and also to all bodies for the hospitality extended.