Russian president in Turkey for talks on energy, foreign policies

07:34, May 12, 2010      

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara on Tuesday for a two-day visit to the country, with energy projects and cooperation in foreign policies high on his agenda.

Turkey and Russia are expected to sign several agreements in energy, economy and security areas during Medvedev's visit, including a deal on the joint construction of a nuclear power plant in south Turkey, Turkey's semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

There were no problems or negative developments regarding the agreement on the nuclear power plant, which would be signed on Wednesday, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz was quoted as speaking at a joint press conference with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin earlier on Tuesday.

The fuel and energy sector is the key area of Russian-Turkish cooperation, Medvedev wrote in an article for the Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman published Tuesday.

Apart from the nuclear power plant, landmark joint projects also include the construction of the South Stream and Blue Stream- 2 gas pipelines and the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Medvedev said.

The president said the two countries would also establish a high-level cooperation council during his visit to boost bilateral relations, coordinate the implementation of critical projects and provide incentives for their businessmen to work together.

He said the cooperation council also "aims to create synergy between foreign policies to ensure international peace, stability and safety."

Turkish and Russian officials are expected to discuss the situation in southern Caucasus, with a special focus on the Nagorno-Karabakh region, where Armenia and Azerbaijan have territorial disputes, according to the Turkish newspaper.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 to support Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and has demanded the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the disputed land.

"We can confidently say that Russian-Turkish relations have advanced to the level of a multidimensional strategic partnership, " Medvedev wrote, describing Turkey as "one of our most important partners with respect to regional and international issues."

Russia is one of Turkey's biggest trade partners and supplies about 60 percent of Turkey's gas imports.

Turkey and Russia signed a joint statement in January to allow a consortium of Russia's Atomstroyexport and Inter RAO, together with Turkish company Park Teknik, to build a nuclear power plant in Turkey's Mediterranean province of Mersin.

The consortium had been the sole bidder in a 2008 tender for the plant, but the deal was cancelled by Turkish authorities in November 2009 due to high prices set for the electricity produced by the plant.

Turkey has also allowed Russia to start surveys in its Black Sea waters for the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, a rival to the European-backed Nabucco pipeline and aiming at bypassing Ukraine in transporting Russian gas to Europe.

Turkey wants Russia to pump oil into the planned Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline, which is designed to carry Russian and Kazakh oil to Turkey's Mediterranean coast without going through the busy Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits.

Source: Xinhua


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