Turkey Wants to Strengthen Ties, Increase Trade with Russia: Minister

The Turkish government plans to push relations with Russia forward through strong political will and close dialogue between leaders, Turkey’s industry and technology minister said Monday, according to Anadolu Agency.

“Our goal [on trade volume between Turkey and Russia] is to reach the foreign trade volume levels of $33 billion that we achieved before and then to increase this figure to $100 billion,” Mustafa Varank told the Turkish-Russian Industry Forum in Yekaterinburg, one of Russia’s important heavy industry centers.

Varank highlighted the need for balanced expansion in trade between the two countries, with both complementing each other in ability.

He added that the Akkuyu nuclear plant and TurkStream gas pipeline projects showed the importance of cooperation between Turkey and Russia at the forum organized by the Foreign Economic Relations Boards (DEIK).

“These strategic energy projects deepen our bilateral economic relations and provide solid foundations for our long-term cooperation. I believe we need to increase our strategic projects,” he said, underlining that these partnerships were satisfactory but not sufficient.

He noted that Turkish companies in many sectors, from woodworking to glass ceramics, from healthcare to textiles, have invested about $10 billion in Russia.

For his part, Russian Industry Minister Denis Manturov said Moscow prepared a number of packages to facilitate Turkish businesses’ arrival to Russia and support long-term investments.

Russia is also creating privileged conditions for Turkish business people, he added.

“The giants leading Russian industry in Turkey’s market are doing successful business, as are Turkish companies in Russia,” he said, stressing the “great potential to develop bilateral relations” between Moscow and Ankara. 

Turkey has recently drawn the ire of the United States by insisting on the purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system, a move Washington says will alienate Ankara from its NATO allies.