Why Putin and Erdogan have such active contacts
Yesterday Vladimir Putin spent the entire day with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They call each other friends and, as journalists calculated, their meeting on Monday was the tenth obe in the past year and a half and the third one this year. In addition, presidents of Russia and Turkey spoke at least two dozen times on the phone. What is the reason for this huge number of contacts? Western media write that “Putin and Erdogan have a lot in common: both believe the West treats them unfairly, both position themselves as strong men.” However, they meet so often not because they're trying to be friends against someone, but because both countries need to maintain political and economic bilateral contacts. Here's some aspects of cooperation between the two countries.
As Vladimir Putin said at yesterday’s meeting with Erdogan, last year the trade turnover between two countries increased by 16%, reaching $26 billion. Investments reached $20 billion. Cooperation in the energy sector has strategic nature. Rosatom is building the first Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey - four power units with a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts will be built. The first unit should be launched in 2023 - by the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. Construction of the Turkish Stream is progressing in accordance with current schedule.
As for cooperation in the military-industrial complex, today implementation of contract on the devlivery of S-400 systems to Turkey is being discussed. There are also other promising projects in the framework of military-industrial cooperation.
Syrian conflict became a serious challenge for Russian-Turkish relations. Yesterday, Putin and Erdogan agreed in coordination with Syrian government, opposition and the UN to help launch the work of Constitutional Committee as soon as possible, and also discussed the state of the Idlib de-escalation zone. Moscow and Ankara believe that it's necessary to preserve sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria, and think that the country can't be divided into zones of influence. Meanwhile, during a meeting with Putin, Erdogan said that he wouldn't turn a blind eye to the threat of situation in northern Syria to Turkey: "Terrorist organizations pose a threat to calmness and stability of our region... YPG troops are attempting to carry out terrorist acts. YPG is a terrorist organization for us."
Turkey is becoming increasingly popular among Russian tourists, who visit not only Turkish resorts, but also historical and cultural attractions. Last year, six million Russians visited Turkey. “I believe that in 2019 this record will be broken. We need to move forward with the issue of visa liberalization, and I hope that these steps will be taken soon. We actively discuss this issue,” Erdogan said. In the near future, the issue of abolishing visas for professional drivers will also be resolved.
As for humanitarian contacts, in February a meeting of rectors of Russian and Turkish universities was held in Ankara. As part of the program of exchange of experience between news agencies, Turkish journalists came to Moscow for an internship, and a similar internship for Russian journalists is planned for the summer. 2019 has been declared the Year of Culture and Tourism in both Russian Federation and Turkey.