Ankara is a “crucial” trade partner for Moscow, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Aug. 18.
“Multidimensional cooperation of our countries is developing,” Novak said, as quoted by state-run Anadolu Agency.
Addressing the 86th İzmir International Fair on its opening day, which Russia is attending as a partner country, Novak said Russia and Turkey were enhancing cooperation in several fields including industry, transport, agriculture and construction.
“For instance, [bilateral] trade volume increased by 28 percent in the first half of this year,” he said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan frequently reiterates that Turkey’s desire is to increase mutual trade volume with Russia up to $100 billion.
After Turkey shot down a Russian military jet over an airspace violation in November 2015, Moscow took several measures against Ankara, including banning imports of Turkish agricultural products and ending visa-free travel for Turks.
In June, Moscow lifted the ban on some agricultural produce and Turkish companies involved in construction, engineering and tourism.
Novak noted that Turkey and Russia faced a tough period, adding that both sides could be said to have overcome these problems.
“Russia meets most of Turkey’s gas demand. This is quite important for us. The Turkish Stream project has been going very well. Another crucial joint project between Russia and Turkey is the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, which will cost $22 billion and is based on a build-operate-transfer [BOT] model,” he said, while reiterating that the project was planned to be completed in 2023.
“There is a multidimensional cooperation between Russia and Turkey… Our joint cooperation witnessed a tough period. We can say that we had overcome these difficulties,” he said, adding that the main partnership of Russia at the İzmir International Fair would create further cooperation opportunities.
Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said Turkey and Russia complemented each other and they were not rivals.
He also noted that both sides lost big time with bans and restrictions.
“I want to forget all those times we had lost with the restrictions,” he said, adding that both sides have a lot in common.
The main theme of the İzmir International Fair is energy this year. Five cooperation sessions were held between Turkey and Russia on the topics of energy, industry, contracting, special economic zones and tourism, according to officials.