Russian deputy PM: Relations with Turkey to be better than before crisis
by Daily Sabah with Wires
ISTANBULJul 27, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with Wires
Jul 27, 2016 12:00 am
At a high-level meeting, held for the first time since the jet crisis on Nov. 24 that deteriorated relations between Turkey and Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich Tuesday in Moscow. Dvorkovich said that Turkey is Russia's strategic ally and they are willing to bring relations to a level even better than that enjoyed before the crisis.
In line with Dvorkovich's remarks, Şimşek emphasized that Turkey wants to improve relations with Russia in every field, as well as accelerating the process for the normalization of relations even further. Şimşek also expressed that they expect to make relations better.
Pointing out that they held consultations on every field including investments and commercial relations as well as the incidents in Turkey in November, the death of Russian pilots and the restrictions brought in the aftermath of the downing of Russian jet, Dvorkovich said: "Following the telephone meeting of the leaders of the two countries, instructions were given in terms of organizing meetings in order to improve the commercial, economic and investment relations and the collaborations in all other fields step-by-step, and these steps were discussed in this meeting [yesterday]."
Noting that they also talked about resuming charter flight services, Dvorkovich said: "Our experts were invited to Turkey to see the safety measurements in the airports, hotels and the other regions where tourists are located, and make sure these measures were sufficient." Suggesting that the government might decide to resume charter flight services, Dvorkovich still said it would take time to carry out preparation work. Dvorkovich said that scheduled flights have been resumed, and Russian citizens could repurchase tours to Turkey and go there with scheduled flights of both Russian and Turkish airline companies.
Previously, Moscow announced a travel ban to Turkey late last year in response to the downed jet. Last month, with the normalization process started between Moscow and Ankara, Putin ordered restrictions on travel to be removed.
Dvorkovich has also said that Turkey expressed that it is ready to initiate dialogues regarding the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project, planned to carry natural gas to Europe over the Turkish-Greek border. On the other hand, Russian Deputy Minister of Energy Yury Sentyurin announced that Turkish and Russian delegates came together yesterday to discuss the issue; however, there was no decision taken.
During his visit to Turkey in December 2014, Putin announced that Moscow had scrapped the South Stream pipeline project that would have carried Russian natural gas to Europe via Bulgaria, and replaced it with the planned Turkish Stream pipeline.
AKKUYU NUCLEAR PLANT
Noting that both sides evaluated the outlook for the investments including the construction of Akkuyu nuclear energy plant, Dvorkovich reported that Turkey has been preparing the necessary legal framework for these projects.
The Russian state-run atomic energy corporation Rosatom assumed the construction of the Akkuyu power plant in 2013, located in the southern province of Mersin and the first of three nuclear power plants Turkey currently plans to build. It is expected that the facility will produce approximately 35 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year once completed. The Akkuyu plant is not scheduled to come on online before 2022 and has faced delays due to regulatory hurdles.