Turkey, Russia reinstating $100 bln bilateral trade target: Erdogan

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attend a news conference following their meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, August 9, 2016. (Reuters)

Turkey and Russia are reinstating their annual bilateral trade target of $100 billion, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday during a press conference in St. Petersburg,  in his first visit after strained ties post Ankara downing of a Russian jet in November.

Erdogan also told the joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin that talks regarding the resumption of charter flights from Russia to Turkey will be accelerated.

Calling Putin his “dear friend,” Erdogan added that Turkey is ready to implement a natural gas pipeline project with Russia and a deal to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant.

The Turkish president said he wants the pipeline -  TurkStream - “done as fast as possible.”

Russia will phase out sanctions against Turkey step-by-step but the priority is to bring bilateral ties between the two countries to their pre-crisis level, Putin said.

Putin, after meeting with Erdogan, said the talks will have an important bearing on the future of Russia-Turkish relations.

Russia promptly cut ties with Turkey over the downed jet incident, banned Turkish vegetables, restricted Russian tourists’ access to Turkey and blocked some Turkish companies from working on its market.

Russia’s Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev also said on Tuesday that his country may open its market for Turkish food imports by the end of the year.  Ulyukayev said it was necessary first to do quality checks of Turkish products.

(With AFP, Reuters)

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