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Meeting with members of the Russian and Turkish business communities

August 9, 2016, St Petersburg

President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with members of the Russian and Turkish business communities.

Remarks at a meeting with Russian and Turkish business leaders

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues, friends.

Today’s meeting of members of the Russian and Turkish business communities is very timely, as I think you’ll agree.

All who are here in this hall have considerable experience working with our countries and know their markets well. You are all interested in implementing joint projects and strengthening trade and investment ties.

Turkey was one of Russia’s key economic partners until recently. Our trade volume had reached $31.6 billion by 2014.

Mutual investments of our countries in high-tech economic sectors – peaceful nuclear technology, auto manufacturing, and telecommunications – amounted to $10 billion from each country.

Recently, both Russian and Turkish business incurred serious losses for obvious reasons, and bilateral trade was cut almost in half, dropping to a mere six billion dollars, over the first five months of 2016. Russia fell from second place to sixth among Turkey’s trade partners.

As they say, nature abhors a vacuum and, naturally, domestic companies and other foreign producers immediately occupied the vacated niche in the Russian market. Now we will have to work to restore the pre-crisis level. As we say, “it is easier to break than to make.” This means it takes very little to break something, and it is always more difficult to build something. However, as I see it, all of us, both from the Russian and Turkish sides, are ready to work together to create things.

We hope to revive the largest joint projects, including those in the energy industry, in which we have cooperated for over 30 years. Russia is the most reliable and biggest gas supplier to Turkey. We are ready to carry out the major projects I agreed with the President earlier.

Another major project is the nuclear power plant. Total investment exceeds $20 billion.

Naturally, we intend to restore cooperation in construction, which is traditionally one of the engines of our economic ties. Over the past two decades, Turkish construction companies carried out over 1,500 projects worth $55 billion in this country.

I am confident that together we will be able to develop and restore our ties, our cooperation that was solid and reliable and yielded tangible results only recently. We should not simply return to the previous level but exceed it and go farther. This is quite possible with your help and active participation.

Thank you.

August 9, 2016, St Petersburg