Two Eurasian powers fated to cooperation
The 3rd International Conference titled 'Russia and Turkey: Forging Multidimensional Partnership' ended in Moscow. The event was organised by the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and the Centre for Strategic Research Republic of Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The conference was attended by heads of relevant ministries and departments, diplomats, big businessmen and experts of the two countries. The event participants discussed the approaches of Russia and Turkey to the formation of a regional security system in Europe and the Middle East, the economic and energy cooperation, as well as Russian-Turkish projects in the humanitarian sphere.
The conference was opened with welcoming remarks by President of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov: "Our goal, like at previous conferences, meetings, is to make an inventory of the political, economic, humanitarian base of bilateral relations, to determine ways of further development, considering regional and global contexts. Life itself, national interests dictate to our countries the need to maintain an active dialogue at all levels, expand cooperation and strengthen mutual understanding. An example of such an approach to Russian -Turkish relations is demonstrated by our leaders - President Putin and President Erdogan."
Speaking at the opening of the conference, Turkish Ambassador to Russia Husseyin Dirioz said: "Our relations have always been considered and developed on the basis of mutual respect. There were ups and downs in our bilateral relations. In the 1990s, economic cooperation played the role of a driving force. In the 2000s, we were concentrating more on political relations between our countries. On September 17, 2018, our presidents met in Sochi, where it was stressed that good neighborly mutual relations and mutual respect were the main elements determining our relations."
Head of Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation Eleonora Mitrofanova drew attention to broad prospects for the development of humanitarian ties between the two countries: "The main thing for us is creating a friendly environment in the neighborhood of our countries. And one of the areas of such cooperation is providing high-quality higher education to foreign students. According to statistics, 749 students from Turkey were receiving education in Russia in 2017. The number of Russian students in Turkey is about 1000. Here we also have quite a large potential for development. Representative offices in Moscow and Ankara play the role of project coordinators on developing and deepening of Russian-Turkish humanitarian ties. The Russian Cultural Center's activities in Ankara successfully contribute to familiarizing the Turkish public with the Russian culture, history, its scientific and spiritual potential."
The Soviet and Russian diplomat, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador Veniamin Popov, referring to the geopolitical context, expressed the view that the United States and the West cannot accept the fact that a unipolar world no longer exist, that they no longer define the entire agenda of international relations: "Under these conditions Russian-Turkish cooperation is especially valuable and necessary. Not because we know each other well, we officially had 13 wars, but now our cooperation is crucial for the situation in the Middle East region. There are many things which unite us. Last year we imported 30 million tons of grain, 80% of which - to Muslim countries. Turkey ranks second on this list - 6.75 million tons of grain. By the way, it is followed by Iran. It will push us to act together. Turkey and Russia are key players in the region. It is important to preserve what was achieved with such difficulty - the alliance of Iran, Turkey and Russia."
"In a few weeks, we will celebrate the 90th anniversary of great writer Chingiz Aitmatov. He is very popular in Turkey. We visited Istanbul in March and held a big conference dedicated to Aitmatov’s works. By the way, Turkey was a country that nominated Aitmatov for the Nobel Prize. He was not awarded, although he deserved it. In December there will be big festivities both in Moscow and Turkey, a large Turkish delegation will arrive here. We are very close mentally. We have differences, it is natural. But the more we discuss them, the sooner we will overcome differences of opinion. Stability and well-being of the whole region will depend on our interaction. Even all international relations. See what is happening now? The Khashoggi case shocked the entire world; Americans are withdrawing from the INF Treaty ... We are two unique Eurasian powers, there isn't another one like us in Europe and Asia. Therefore, we are fated to cooperate," Veniamin Popov is confident.