Turkey prepares to boost economic ties with Putin visit

Published 25.11.2014 00:37

President Vladimir Putin will be in Ankara next week to meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the two sides show signs of eagerness to put aside some of their political differences and concentrate on boosting economic ties.

Russia is facing economic difficulties as the U.S. and Europe move to punish Moscow over its policies regarding Crimea and Ukraine. The economic sanctions being applied against Russia is reportedly taking its toll as Putin moves to seek new avenues to ease the burden.

His visit to Turkey is vital and is expected to open up new avenues between Moscow and Ankara, which will not go down so well in the West.

Turkey is losing important export markets in the Middle East thanks to the policies of the U.S. and its coalition partners on Iraq and, especially, on Syria. The European market is also shrinking for Turkey as the EU faces economic difficulties with their stagnant economies.

So Turkey is eyeing the Russian market as well as other markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Russia seems to be the most promising for Turkish export items, especially as American and European sanctions have reduced the flow of western goods to Russia.

No one should tell us to turn our backs on Russia while we lose markets elsewhere, especially when they have not done anything to ease the mess in Syria or help Turkey cope with the more than 2 million Syrian refugees who have cost Turkey $5 billion.

Yes, it is true that Turkey does not see eye to eye with Russia, especially on the plight of the Crimean Tatars or the mess created in Ukraine. Turkey also does not see eye to eye with Moscow on Syria as Ankara continues its quest for the ouster of the Assad regime while Moscow is one of the leading supporters of Assad.

However, conditions dictate that Russia and Turkey forge an understanding to agree to disagree on Ukraine and Syria while boosting economic ties that is to the benefit of both. Russia has started importing more and more Turkish foodstuffs after the Western sanctions and rich Russian companies, led by the banks, are showing increased interest in Turkey.

Turkish companies will be more than welcome in Moscow, which will provide a boost to the Turkish economy. So when Putin comes here next week he will not convince Erdoğan on Syria or on Ukraine but he will go back home armed with enhanced economic ties between Turkey and Russia.

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