Libmonster ID: UK-1343

Sergey KHAMDOKHOV, Our sobkor in Turkey

Keywords: Turkey, Russia, cooperation, politics, economy, culture, tourism, results

The fourth meeting of the Russian-Turkish High-level Cooperation Council (HLCC) was held in St. Petersburg on November 22, 2013, with the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The main function of this forum is to develop a common strategy for the development of Russian-Turkish relations at the current stage, as well as to coordinate the main projects of bilateral cooperation.

Following the meeting, five documents were signed: a Memorandum of Understanding between JSC Inter RAO and the Turkish Electricity Generation Company (Elektrik Uretim A. S.), a Memorandum of Strategic Partnership between JSC Power Machines-ZTL, LMZ, Electrosila, Energomashexport and Turkish JSC Pi Makina ERG Construction Trade and Industry" ("Pi Makina ERG Insaat Ticaret ve Sanayi A. S."); The Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Customs and Trade of Turkey signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the application of the "Simplified Customs Corridor" procedure; the Turkish State Anatolian Agency signed agreements and memoranda of cooperation with Russian agencies - ITAR-TASS and RIA Novosti.

The holding of the next meeting of the CCIS established in 2010 in the northern capital of Russia was a landmark event in the Russian-Turkish political contacts of the past year and turned another page in the annals of our relations with Turkey, which date back several centuries.

Taking into account the importance of Ankara in solving a number of pressing global and regional problems, its close cooperation with Russia in the economic sphere (in which our countries have reached the level of strategic cooperation in some areas), we should summarize some interim results of 2013 in order to determine where the positions of the two states do not coincide, and where mutual friendship is envy and imitation of others.

POLITICAL DIALOGUE: COMMON VIEWS ON SOLVING REGIONAL PROBLEMS, BUT NOT ALL OF THEM...

Russia and Turkey continue to actively cooperate on key international and regional issues, both at the bilateral level and within international organizations such as the United Nations, the Group of Twenty (G20), the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization( SCO), to which Turkey was admitted in 2012 as a development partner. to the dialog.

Moscow and Ankara largely agree on the mechanisms of the Middle East settlement, the stabilization of the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a peaceful solution to the problem of Iran's nuclear program. The parties regularly hold consultations on the Cyprus settlement, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the situation in the Balkans. This is also facilitated by the Joint Strategic Planning Group established under the CCTLDS under the leadership of the Foreign Ministers of Russia and Turkey, who have been holding regular meetings since 2011 to exchange views on the current bilateral and international agenda.

One of the most important areas of Russian-Turkish cooperation is the work of law enforcement agencies and special services, primarily in the fight against terrorism. This trend has become even more relevant in the run-up to the XXII Winter Olympic Games to be held in Sochi from February 7 to 23, 2014. The Russian leadership attached great importance to the security of the Olympics in the far from calm North Caucasus region.

According to various sources, the Republic of Turkey is home to 100-150 thousand Circassians-descendants of the peoples of the North Caucasus who fled to the Ottoman Empire in 1864 after the end of the Russo-Caucasian War.-

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the Kazan War. Many radical representatives of the Circassian diaspora in Turkey called for a boycott of the Olympics and called on the Russian authorities to recognize the so-called "genocide of the Circassian people"at the legislative level. In this regard, close cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of our countries has helped to neutralize attempts by destructive elements to denigrate the world sports festival, such as the Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, there are still issues on the international agenda that Moscow and Ankara have different approaches to. One of these "stumbling blocks" was the armed conflict in Syria, which continues in the Arab republic for the third year and claimed the lives of about 150 thousand people. From the very beginning of the conflict, Russia has been advocating a peaceful solution through dialogue between President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups. Turkey, on the other hand, has taken an implacable position: the "bloody" Assad regime must be overthrown; neither the Syrian president himself nor his representatives have a place in the political future of this long - suffering Middle Eastern country.

Turkey, in cooperation with the same irreconcilable rivals of Bashar al-Assad in the region as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, provides broad moral, material and military support to the Syrian opposition. Through Turkish territory, radical Islamists enter Syria, who later join the ranks of Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups fighting in Syria for "pure Islam".

This policy of the Turkish leadership has led to negative consequences for Turkey itself, whose total border length with Syria is 910 km. A flood of Syrian refugees has flooded into the country (currently there are about 600 thousand of them, of which only 200 thousand are in refugee camps). In the border provinces of Turkey, the criminal situation has worsened, and smuggling is flourishing. On a weekly basis, Turkish law enforcement agencies, during special operations, detect and seize a large number of weapons and ammunition that smugglers are trying to transfer to militants in Syria.

A consequence of the general instability on the Turkish-Syrian border should be considered the bloody terrorist attack committed in May 2013 in the Turkish city of Reyhanli (Hatay province). As a result of the explosions of two car bombs, 53 people were killed, 155 more were injured in various ways. Ankara has accused the Syrian security services of involvement in the attack, but many facts indicate that radical Islamic groups linked to Al-Qaeda are behind the attack, which are interested in expanding the borders of destabilizing the region.

The Turkish leadership has repeatedly expressed concern about the humanitarian situation in Syria and called for a peaceful solution to the conflict and the territorial integrity of the Arab Republic. At the same time, it seems that Ankara's one-sided and biased approach to the Syrian problem can hardly contribute to an early resolution of the crisis.

Another issue in international diplomacy where the views of Russia and Turkey are radically different is the situation in Egypt.

In the summer of 2012, following the results of the last presidential elections in Egypt, the former leader of the political wing of the Islamist association "Muslim Brotherhood" Mohammed Morsi became head of state. A year later, on July 3, amid mass protests against his rule, Morsi was removed from power by the Egyptian military. The former president, as well as a number of other brotherhood leaders, were accused of inciting murder, violence and betraying Egypt's national interests.

The Turkish government of the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, strongly condemned the overthrow of Morsi, during whose rule Turkey and Egypt developed close relations. Official Ankara called the removal of the Egyptian Islamist president a coup and called on the international community to recognize the illegitimate actions of the military in Egypt. In Turkey itself, non-governmental organizations at the unspoken-

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With the support of the country's leadership, demonstrations and protests were regularly held in solidarity with supporters of the deposed Egyptian president.

The result of such propaganda actions on the part of Turkey, as well as harsh statements by Prime Minister Erdogan against the "military putschists"

Egypt, relations between the two countries have entered a diplomatic crisis. Cairo accused Ankara of interfering in its country's internal affairs and declared the Turkish ambassador persona non grata. Turkey also took similar retaliatory measures, lowering the level of diplomatic relations with Egypt to charge d'affaires.

So what can be behind Erdogan's harsh rhetoric and his intransigent stance towards the new authorities in Egypt? According to many Turkish observers, the AKP government is playing the "Egyptian card" for domestic consumption. Municipal elections will be held in the Republic of Turkey in March 2014, where the AKP intends to win a majority of votes. Accordingly, moderate Islamists from the AKP, expressing support and solidarity with their Egyptian "brothers", are trying to attract even more votes of Turkish Islamists in the future.

From the above examples, it can be concluded that, despite the good-neighborly relations between Russia and Turkey, these key states of the region still have differences in their foreign policy on a number of issues. However, the leadership of the two countries is focused on a constructive bilateral dialogue aimed at finding mutually acceptable solutions.

This thesis was confirmed by Russian President Vladimir Putin during the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to St. Petersburg to participate in the GCC:"...Of course, we also discussed international issues, the situation in the Middle East in general, and in Syria in particular. In some ways, our approaches may not coincide, but this does not prevent us from working together to find acceptable approaches to resolving the most acute international crises."1. According to Putin, Russia and Turkey "may have differences on certain issues, but this does not lead to a cooling of our relations, on the contrary, we are in even closer contact, looking for common ground."2

TRADE AND ECONOMIC COOPERATION: IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO SLOW DOWN

Trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Turkey has been developing steadily in recent years.

Russia ranks 2nd, after Germany, among Turkey's foreign trade partners. Turkey ranks 7th among our country's partners. The positive balance of trade remains with Russia, whose exports account for more than 80% of the total turnover (the main export items are energy carriers). Light industry, agricultural products, food, equipment and vehicles are imported from Turkey.

According to the results of 2012, mutual trade between the two countries grew by 7.5% and amounted to $34 billion. The trade turnover from January to September 2013 reached $23.6 billion, which is 8% less than in the same period of 2012.3

During the CCIS meeting in St. Petersburg, the parties drew attention to a slight decline in trade turnover, linking it, first of all, to the unfavorable situation that has developed on world markets. At the same time, they confirmed their readiness to implement the strategic goal of bringing the trade turnover between Russia and Turkey to $100 billion by 2020.

The main mechanism for promoting trade and economic cooperation between the two countries is the Joint Intergovernmental Commission, within which a number of working groups operate. The Commission, chaired by the Energy Ministers of Russia and Turkey, has already held 12 meetings (the last one was held in Antalya, Turkey, in April 2013).

Moscow and Ankara have been actively developing investment cooperation in recent years, and there has been an increase in direct investment. For the first six months of 2013 in Russia-

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Russian capital investments in Turkey totaled $1.57 billion, while Turkish investments totaled about $740 million.

Here are some successful examples of mutual investment. At the end of 2012, an assembly plant for Russian Gazelle cars was opened in the Turkish city of Sakarya. For the period 2013-2015, it is planned to assemble 12 thousand cars of this brand, and it is planned to create a full-fledged sales and service network for Gazelles in Turkey.

In Russia, including at sports facilities in Sochi, a large amount of work is performed by Turkish construction companies. For example, over the past year and a half, companies from Turkey have built up an area of about 700,000 square meters in Sochi and completed contracts worth $1.6 billion.4

Interbank cooperation has been established between the two countries. In 2012, Sberbank of Russia acquired almost 100% of the shares of Turkish Denizbank, which was one of the top ten financial institutions in Turkey in terms of assets. To date, Sberbank has invested $3.6 billion in the financial sector of the Turkish economy. There are five banks based on Turkish capital in Russia.

A separate chapter of the Russian-Turkish partnership is energy cooperation, which, as many in Turkey recognize, has long reached a strategic level. Turkey ranks 2nd after Germany in terms of purchases of Russian "blue" fuel. Supplies from Russia cover 56% of Turkey's natural gas needs.

In 2012, Turkey received 27 billion cubic meters of natural gas via two gas pipelines (Trans-Balkan and Blue Stream) connecting our countries. m of gas. In the first ten months of 2013, gas supplies to our southern neighbor already amounted to $ 21 billion.

In the near future, Russia plans to start construction in the exclusive economic zone of Turkey, with its consent, the offshore section of the new South Stream gas pipeline. A section of the gas pipeline with a length of 925 km will run along the bottom of the Black Sea in the exclusive economic zones of Russia, Turkey and Bulgaria. The land section covers the territories of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Slovenia. The gas pipeline will end in Italy, but branches will be built to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as to Croatia.6

The main symbol of strategic Russian-Turkish cooperation in the energy sector is the construction of Turkey's first Akkuyu nuclear power plant. The Russian state corporation Rosatom is engaged in the construction of a nuclear power plant on the Mediterranean coast in the southern Turkish province of Mersin. As part of the Akkuyu project, 4 power units with a capacity of 1,200 MW each will be built. It is planned that after commissioning, this nuclear power plant will generate about 35 billion cubic meters of electricity over 60 years. kW of electricity per year. According to the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation, the volume of Russian investments in the construction of the plant will amount to $22 billion.7 The NPP is expected to be put into operation in 2020-2023.

Russia has made a commitment to train and train young Turkish specialists who will work at the plant. Currently, about 200 students from Turkey are studying at the Russian National Research Nuclear University of the Moscow Institute of Engineering and Physics. After their studies, they will have internships at various nuclear power plants in Russia, including the Novoronezh nuclear Power Plant, which will be designed to build the Akkuyu nuclear power plant.

Interregional cooperation has become one of the most important areas of bilateral relations. Among the leaders of the Russian regions with which Turkey has established direct trade and economic ties are Moscow, Moscow, Rostov, Kemerovo, Vladimir, Sverdlovsk regions, St. Petersburg, as well as the Krasnodar Territory and the Republic of Tatarstan. The Turks show interest in participating in the implementation of transport and logistics projects in the North Caucasus.

CULTURAL AND HUMANITARIAN COOPERATION: PUBLIC FORUM...

Modern humanitarian and cultural ties between Russia and Turkey intensified in the mid-1990s, when the borders were opened after the collapse of the USSR and the citizens of our countries began, in fact, to get to know each other anew. Cooperation in this area is becoming more organized and constructive every year.

To this end, a Russian-Turkish Public Forum was established within the framework of the ccTLDs. On the Russian side, it was headed by the head of Rossotrudnichestvo, K. Kosachev, and on the Turkish side - by the Chairman of the International Affairs Commission of the Turkish Parliament, V. Bozkir. The first meeting of the Forum was held in Kazan in November 2013. It was attended by more than 100 representatives of business and scientific circles of Russia and Turkey, public structures and non-governmental organizations. It is planned that the Forum meetings will be held on a regular basis.

The most significant cultural event of 2013 in the life of the two countries was the Festival of Russian Culture held in Istanbul in April. As part of the six-day program, a concert of the I. A. Moiseev State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble was held. Prominent figures of culture and art from the Russian Federation introduced the Turks to Russian theater, cinema and music. Soloists of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of the Istanbul Concert Hall, performed for Turkish music lovers. Similar

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The event-the Festival of Turkish Culture-will be held in Moscow and other Russian cities in 2014.

A notable event was also the performance in June 2013 in the Turkish capital of the Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army named after A.V. Alexandrov with the participation of People's Artist of the USSR I. V. Abramovich. Kobzon.

The Russian Center for Science and Culture is scheduled to open in Ankara in 2014. In turn, the Turkish side intends to open a Cultural center named after him in Moscow. Yunus Emre, the founder of Turkish versification.

...AND TOURISM

In recent years, tourism has become the main platform for Russians to get acquainted with the Turks. Thanks to the price-quality formula, Turkey remains one of the most popular vacation destinations for Russian tourists.

In 2013, for the first time in the entire "tourist history", the number of Russian tourists visiting Turkish attractions and Mediterranean resorts exceeded 4 million people.

According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey, in the first ten months of 2013, 4 million 131 thousand Russians visited Turkey (in 2012 - 3.6 million). Russia ranks 2nd in the flow of foreign tourists (13%), second only to Germany (14.6%). In total, about 32 million people visited Turkey during this period. travel lovers 8. For tourists from Turkey, the Russian destination is not yet the most popular, but they are gradually beginning to show interest in our country.

Taking into account the stable dynamics in the field of tourism in the Turkish direction, Russian President Vladimir Putin during the work of the CCIS suggested that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spend "cross" Years of tourism in Russia and Turkey.

* * *

Russia's real position on the world stage, where our country acts as a responsible and sensible subject of international relations and international law, which the United States and its Western allies have recently had to reckon with, is pushing Turkey to look for more and more common ground with Moscow. The Russian leadership, in turn, sees Ankara as an influential regional player, with which interests in the region of Transcaucasia, the Balkans, and Central Asia are intertwined.

These factors, as well as the accumulated trade and economic potential, are conducive to further economic and political rapprochement between the two countries. It is no coincidence that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly hinted at Turkey's desire to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). He again voiced this proposal to the Russian president in St. Petersburg, complaining about the protracted 50-year experience of negotiating Turkey's accession to the EU. In addition, the head of the Turkish government called for signing a free trade agreement with the countries of Eurasia.

Many Turkish experts are convinced that Turkey, given its membership in NATO, its traditional economic ties with the EU, and its allied relations with the United States, will never break with the West, and R. T. Erdogan is only trying to frighten the European Union with such statements about his desire to join the SCO.

This opinion was expressed in one of the Turkish newspapers in the article "Moscow does not believe in tears" by a well-known expert on Russia in Turkey, Hassan Kanbolat, head of the Center for Strategic Studies of the Middle East. "Turkey has never sought integration with the SCO, having severed its relations with the EU and the West. And it is very unlikely that Turkey, looking at the SCO, will make the West jealous. Therefore, Russia should not be expected to fall for Turkey's trick of joining the SCO, which seeks to attract the attention of the European Union," the Turkish political analyst believes.9

At the same time, a number of international and Turkish observers believe that Turkey, under the leadership of the Justice and Development Party, is gradually beginning to change its geostrategic course - from West to East. This is primarily due to Turkey's fatigue and disillusionment with the "eternal" EU accession negotiation process, as well as Ankara's interest in expanding its political and economic influence in the vast expanse of Eurasia.

As they say, "there is no smoke without fire," and time will tell which path Turkey will choose.

Regardless of any geopolitical situation, as long as the Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council of the highest level exists, we should expect that the political dialogue between our countries and its economic component will continue to develop.


1 Press conference on the results .meetings of the Sonnet of High-level Cooperation between Russia and Turkey. Saint Petersburg, November 22, 2013 / / Website of the President of Russia - www.kremlin.ru

2nd Meeting of the High-level Cooperation Council between Russia and Turkey. Saint Petersburg, November 22, 2013 / / Website of the President of Russia - www.kremlin.ru

3 Data of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation / / Website of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation - www.cus-toms.ru

4 Soci Olimpivatlari'nda Ilk Zafer Turklerin // Haberler.com, 14.11.2013 -http://www.haberler.com/soci-olimpiyatlari-nda-ilk-zafer-turklerin-5305850-haberi

5 Gazprom data - www.gaz-prom.ru

6 Ibid.

7 Speech by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Saint Petersburg, November 22, 2013 / / Website of the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation -www.minenergo.gov.ru

8 Data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey (22.11.2013)- http://basin.kulturturizm.gov.tr/TR,75895/ turist-sayisi-sonbaharda-da-artti.html

9 Moscow does not believe in tears // Today's Zaman, 25.11.2013 - http://www.to-dayszaman.com/columnist/hasan-kanbolat_ 332367_moscow-does-not-believe-in-tears. html


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