Russia Expects Lavrov’s Türkiye Visit to Greatly Enhance Relations

Russia Expects Lavrov’s Türkiye Visit to Greatly Enhance Relations

Russian foreign minister plans to discuss wide range of issues with his Turkish counterpart on sidelines of Antalya Diplomacy Forum

By Elena Teslova, Anadolu Agency

Russia said Wednesday that it expects a forthcoming meeting between Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan to significantly contribute to the development of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Lavrov has been invited by Fidan to meet on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum on March 1-2.

“Despite growing pressure from the West on friendly countries to limit their contacts with Russia, we observe the desire of our Turkish partners to maintain cooperation with the Russian Federation on issues of mutual interest,” it said.

The ministry highlighted the strength of the bilateral contacts, noting that last year, the presidents of the two countries, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had 13 phone calls. In April, the two leaders took part in a virtual ceremony marking the delivery of atomic fuel to the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, while in September, they held full-fledged talks in the Russian resort city of Sochi.

“Preparations for new contacts at the highest level are underway,” it emphasized.

The rhythm of bilateral communications set by the heads of state is actively supported by the foreign ministers, with seven ministerial meetings and 10 phone talks last year.

“At the upcoming meeting, a wide range of relevant regional and international topics will be discussed. It is necessary to ‘synchronize watches’ on the situation in Ukraine, Transcaucasia, the Middle East and North Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia and the Black Sea region,” it said.

The ministers will exchange views on the current state of affairs on the Ukrainian crisis and discuss prospects for a peaceful settlement of the conflict on the condition that Kyiv takes into account Russian interests and concerns, it highlighted.

“Increased attention will be paid to the normalization process in Syria. Steps to further promote Syrian-Turkish dialogue in a quadrilateral format with the participation of Iran as the guarantor country of the Astana process to facilitate the settlement of the crisis in Syria will be touched upon,” it said.

Lavrov and Fidan will also speak about deepening cooperation in the South Caucasus, including unblocking transport routes and communications there and restoration work after the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“During the talks, the ministers will also focus on ways to enhance bilateral trade and economic ties and cooperation in the fields of energy, finance and other areas,” it said.

The ministry noted that in 2023, Russian-Turkish trade turnover decreased by 11.2% to $55.4 billion, but its “physical” volume increased by 35.9% to 92.7 million tons.

“The parties’ priority is to maintain positive dynamics in trade and develop ways to neutralize the negative impact of Western restrictions on Russian-Turkish cooperation,” it emphasized.

Türkiye remains a priority destination for Russian tourists. In 2023, 5.6 million Russian citizens visited this country, and ahead of the next tourist season, close attention will be paid to the topic of ensuring the comprehensive security of Russians on holiday in Turkish resorts, it said.

Separately, the two ministers plan to work on such strategic projects as the construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, the operation of the TurkStream Gas Pipeline and the creation of a gas hub in Türkiye for the transportation of Russian energy resources to world markets.

“We expect that the upcoming ministerial meeting will make a significant contribution to the further development of mutually beneficial relations between Russia and Türkiye and strengthen the strategic vision of addressing international problems while taking into account national interests,” the ministry added.