Russian FM to Discuss Defense Industry Ties with Turkey
Defense industry cooperation between Russia and Turkey, which has been hard hit by the latest Turkish economic crisis, will be on the agenda of Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov during his visit to Ankara late Thursday, reported the Turkish Daily News.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Dirioz said on Wednesday that Ivanov would be in Turkey as an official guest of his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem.
"This is the first time such a visit has occurred in nine years," he said.
The two are expected to discuss the many fields of bilateral cooperation that have advanced greatly in recent years, and how opportunities for further cooperation can be expanded, he added.
Diplomatic sources told the paper that economic issues would dominate the visit.
In recent years, due to economic crises in both countries, the trade volume between Turkey and Russia has decreased dramatically.
The latest discussions in Turkey about the Blue Stream gas pipeline aimed at bringing Russian natural gas to Turkey beneath the Black Sea have created concerns in Russia, said the sources, adding that Ivanov was expected to bring this issue to the table.
In addition, other thorny issues such as Chechen activities in Turkey and the US proposal for a new defense missile system will be on the agenda, the sources added.
According to a Russian official, who asked not to be identified, Turkish-Russian cooperation in the defense industry will be dealt with during the visit.
Russia wants to jointly manufacture some strategic weapons with Turkey and sell them to other developing countries.
"Due to the economic crisis, Turkey has delayed some of its defense projects, but this hurts the two countries' defense cooperation. However, Russia wants to continue cooperation on this issue. The joint committee set up to deal with cooperation in the defense industry will hold its meeting at the end of the summer," said the Russian diplomat.
Russian sources also confirmed that the planning and preparation of Russian President Vladimir Putin's possible visit to Turkey would be on Ivanov's agenda, the daily added - Albawaba.com
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