Erdogan: Turkey and Russia determined to become strategic partners (Link) (January 15, 2010)

Turkey is determined to sign a contract on strategic cooperation with Russia, Turkish PM Erdogan told Sabah commenting on the results of his Moscow visit. Erdogan told that Russia and Turkey are on the eve of setting strategic cooperation.

�We plan to sign a contract on our strategic cooperation during Dmitry Medvedev�s visit to turkey as we had the same experience with Syria and Iraq. Russia has already signed similar papers with Germany and France; Germany and France also have mutual contracts. Now it�s high time for Turkey.�

Commenting on energy cooperation with Russia, Erdogan stated that energy factor is to change much. Erdogan told that some disagreements particularly on �Blue stream� gas pipeline made the sides hold serious negotiations.

�It might happen that we sign a new gas contract. We�ve negotiated over disposition of meat products (fish, poultry), Russian side is determined to buy 500 000 tones of meat,� Turkish PM said. Changing of visa regime between Turkey and Russia has been one of highlights in the negotiations.

Erdogan told that both Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin hailed the idea and the soonest activities were resumed. �That issue has been always in our agenda and our businessmen have been waiting for some changes. Old visa regime creates difficulties in tourism field, in international freight transportation, etc.

Russian President will most probably visit Turkey in May or June. We recommended organizing of Turkish-Russian business council in the framework of his visit, where visa regime changes will be discussed.� That was our initiative and we hope that we�ll get some changes. That will create improved terms for advancing tourism between Turkey and Russia.