20 January 2018
Moscow: 23:54
London: 20:54

Consular queries:  
+44 (0) 203 668 7474  




Interview by the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Alexander Lukashevich, to “RIA Novosti” regarding the IV session of the Russian-Turkish Joint Strategic Planning Group

Question: On the 27 May, the IV session of the Joint Strategic Planning Group (JSPG) will be held under the co-presidency of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu. What is the agenda for the forthcoming event?

Answer: During the session, there will be a profound exchange of opinions on a wide range of topical bilateral, regional and international problems. The ministers will discuss the crisis in Ukraine, the situation in the Middle Eastern region, including in Syria, and the situation in North Africa. They will continue their dialogue on the issue related to Iran’s Nuclear Programme, the situation in Transcaucasia, the situation in Central Asia and on the Balkans and the interaction of the two countries in international bodies. Russia and Turkey have very similar or matching positions on many global and regional problems and intend to continue their constructive exchange of opinions.

An important item on the agenda is the set of issues of further development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the Black Sea region, including the prospects of interaction within the framework of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. Here Moscow and Ankara believe that they need to increase the effectiveness of counteraction to global and regional challenges, as well as ensure sustainable development.

The discussion of topical issues in trade and economic ties will take a significant place in the negotiations.

Russia is convinced that the forthcoming JSPG session will make a significant contribution to the further strengthening of the relations of trust and partnership between Russia and Turkey.

Question: How would you characterize the current state of Russian-Turkish relations?

Answer: In recent years, ties between Russia and Turkey have been developing in a spirit of multifaceted advanced interaction, but in a range of sectors, primarily in the energy sector, they have reached the level of strategic partnership. The High Level Cooperation Council, which was created in 2010 and is co-chaired by the President of the Russian Federation and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, has withstood the test of time and is functioning stably. The Joint Strategic Planning Group, which deals with issues of interaction on the international stage, the Mixed intergovernmental Russian-Turkish commission for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation and the Community Forum for Social and Humanitarian Ties all actwithin this Council.

Our interparliamentary ties are developing. On the 26-27 February, the Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Sergey Naryshkin, made an official visit to Turkey. Contacts within the ambit of parliamentary groups of friendship have been scheduled.

We are seeing mutual interest in the further reinforcement of bilateral ties and the aspiration to extend our dialogue in the interests of reinforcement and development of the positive trends, in which Russian-Turkish relations are currently inherent.

Question: What can you say about Russian-Turkish interaction in the trade and economic area?

Answer: In general, we are satisfied with the current level of trade and economic cooperation, although a drop in the mutual turnover of goods was observed last year – it totalled 32.7 billion US dollars, which was 4.5% less than in 2012. We believe that this is a temporary phenomenon related to the reduction in Russian exports of energy carriers – because of the warm winter in Turkey, as well as food and agricultural products – because of the unfavourable climate on the global market for these goods.

Turkey is in 8th place amongst Russia’s foreign trade partners, including 5th place based on exports and 13th place based on imports. Turkey’s share in the foreign trade turnover of Russia totals 3.9%. As at the end of 2013, Russia is in 4th place amongst the countries to which Turkey delivers its products (after Germany, Iraq, and the United Kingdom).

The task of bringing our bilateral turnover of goods to the level of 100 billion US dollars is a topical task for the coming years. Energy carriers (70.8%), metal and metal items (15.2%) prevail in Russian exports, and cars, equipment and vehicles (32%), food (24.1%) and textiles (10.8%) prevail in imports from Turkey.

Our contacts in the banking sector are developing actively, which is an important aid to the mutually beneficial partnership between Russian and Turkish companies. OAO Sberbank holds the leading position in the swiftly growing banking sector of the Turkish economy.

Question: What results were reached in the bilateral partnership in the investment area? Could you provide specific examples of cooperation in this direction?

Answer: There is significant potential to build-up the level of investment cooperation reached. The amount of accumulated Turkish investments totalled 956.4 million US dollars last year. The main industries for Turkish investments in Russia are textiles, food, chemicals, wood processing, the electronic and electrotechnical industry, the production of construction and finishing materials, car building and the production of car components, the services sector, trade, tourism and the banking sector. The volume of Russian investments inTurkey in 2013 reached 953.9 million US dollars. Total Russian investments in the Turkish economy total 1.747 billion US dollars.

The interest of Russian investors in capital investments inthe growing Turkish economy is increasing. The largest Russian investment project in Turkey is the construction of a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu. Its total cost is about 20 billion US dollars. This project is at the stage of practical implementation. Russia is planning to widely involve Turkish companies in the construction works. In 2011-2013, three groups of students were sent from Turkey – about 20 people in total –to Russia for training. They will work in the nuclear area. This year, another 100 Turkish students are scheduled to arrive. Negotiations regarding the organisation of training for “nuclear” professions based on Russian programmes are being held.

The implementation of another strategic project, the construction of the South Stream gas line, is being implemented according to plan. Russia has generally completed complex engineering and geological exploration in the exclusive economic zone of Turkey in the Black Sea and sent a report on the environmental impact assessment to Turkey.

Russian-Turkish trade and economic ties are not limited to energy. A good example is bilateral interaction in the high tech area, – the launch of a Turkish telecommunications satellite Turksat-4A by a Russian carrier vehicle, which was implemented on the 15 February.

Turkish contracting companies perform a lot of works in the territory of Russia. They actively participated in the projects which are related to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and other large-scale international events, which will be held in our country in the coming years.

Question: How are bilateral ties between regions developing?

Answer: Interregional cooperation is one of the most important areas in Russian-Turkish relations. It is organised mainly on account of trade and economic ties between economic entities of the two countries. In March-April, a session of the bilateral workgroup for regional cooperation acting within the intergovernmental Russian-Turkish commission for trade and economic cooperation, as well as presentations of the trade, economic and investment potential of the Astrakhan Region, Republic of Marij El, Tatarstan, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Karelia, Krasnodar Territory and Rostov Region were held. This year, there are plans regarding visits to Turkey of delegations from the Volgograd, Tomsk, Omsk Regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, Tatarstan, Dagestan, and the Chechen Republic, North Ossetia, and Karachayevo-Cherkessia.

Question: What is the place of cooperation in the humanitarian area in bilateral relations?

Answer: The extension and improvement of contacts in the areas of education, science, culture and art, information, tourism, within the ambit of the institutes of civil communities of the two countries contribute to an increase in the level of mutual trust between the people of Russia and Turkey.

The opening of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture on the 27 February was an important event.A Centre of Turkish Culture named after Yunus Emre will open in Moscow in the near future.

On 20 November 2013, the first session of the Community Forum was held in Kazan. A joint statement was adopted, as well as specific areas of work of the forum were determined, as a result of it. Its second session should take place in Turkey in the second half of the year.

Question: Turkey is frequently associated with travels of our nationals, in Russia. Could you tell us about the development of this sector of bilateral cooperation?

Answer: Turkey is indeed one of the most popular places for recreation with Russians. Last year 4.3 millionRussian tourists visited Turkish resorts. In 2012, this number was 3.5 million people.

We hope that practical implementation of the proposition made by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, in St Petersburg in November 2013 regarding the organisation of bilateral Years of tourism will contribute to further growth of the flow of tourists not only from Russia to Turkey, but also in the opposite direction.

Russia and Turkey devote increasing attention to the comfortable and safe recreation of our nationals in the Republic of Turkey. The set of issues related to necessary measures was reviewed during the session of the expert sub-group for travel security of the Russian-Turkish Work group for tourism in Antalya on the 12-13 May. The Memorandum on mutual understanding about cooperation in the area of health care of travellers and the fight against infectious diseases was coordinated and almost ready to be signed between the Federal Supervision Agency for Customer Protection and Human Welfare and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Turkey.


17.01.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the unveiling of memorial plaque in Sayes Court Park

Dear Mayor, Dear Councillors, Lady Joan, Ladies and gentlemen, It is now 320 years ago that a truly remarkable man set foot in Deptford. As you know, the Russian Tsar Peter, later named the Great, visited Western Europe in 1697—1698 under the nickname of Peter Mikhailov, with his Grand Embassy. He was eager to find out about the latest achievements in science and technology and create new diplomatic alliances. Of course, England couldn’t escape his attention. He mostly studied shipbuilding at the famous Deptford Dockyard, but he also met King William III, and, reportedly, Isaac Newton. Peter’s landlord, the famous John Evelyn, was also a respected scientist – a founder member of the Royal Society.

13.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am pleased to welcome you to the Russian Embassy at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee. It’s a common knowledge, that football is the most popular game in the world. It is an honour for us to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in the history of our country. I believe that those who come to Russia to support their national teams will leave with unforgettable memories.

08.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo (7 December 2017)

25.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the reception at the Embassy dedicated to Russian Film Week (24 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding Russian opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky who passed away this week. In 2015 he gave a concert in this very hall. I am delighted to welcome you at our reception dedicated to the Russian Film Week and the environmental causes it champions. This year their charity partner is World Wide Fund for Nature, which runs many projects in Russia in coordination and with support of the Russian Government. Russia has a unique, fascinating wildlife. A number of this week’s films show the natural beauty of our land and are sure to raise awareness of how fragile this beauty is. We appreciate the WWF effort in Russia and worldwide and call on everybody to become a supporter, especially this year, marked as Year of Ecology in Russia.

20.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the launch of the Russian Film Week (19 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, It is a pleasure for me to be at the opening of the second edition of the Russian Film Week here in London – which this year also spans to Cambridge and Edinburgh.

16.10.2017 - Unpublished letter to the Editor of The Times (sent 12 October)

Sir, If British MPs are free to speak out, wherever they wish, on any issue, why try to block their freedom of speech (“Helping Putin”, 11 October)? If a TV channel wants (and is legally bound) to present different points of view, why slam those who express these views? If the mere act of giving an interview to foreign media amounts to high treason, why does The Times interview Russian politicians without fear? And finally - while MPs critical of Russia are welcome guests on the Russian TV channel RT, does your paper give the same treatment to those critical of the paper’s owner? Konstantin Shlykov Press Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation

25.09.2017 - PRESENTATION by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Christian Future of Europe Conference 22 September 2017, London

Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, dear Mr. Ambassador, conference organizers and participants, I cordially greet all of those gathered today at the Russian Embassy in London to partake in this conference dedicated to the question of the future of Christianity in Europe. This topic is not only not losing any of its relevance, but is resounding ever anew. Experts believe that today Christianity remains not only the most persecuted religious community on the planet, but is also encountering fresh challenges which touch upon the moral foundations of peoples' lives, their faith and their values. Recent decades have seen a transformation in the religious and ethnic landscape of Europe.

23.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at presentation of the book "The Mystery of Repentance" held at the Russian Embassy

I’m glad to welcome you here to a discussion of two prominent hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England, on Christian future of Europe.

12.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the exhibition opening (“Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia” 12 September, British Museum)

Today the British Museum and the State Hermitage of Saint-Petersburg are once again proving their unique world class by bringing a whole new civilization to London. Ancient, and almost mythical, but creative, powerful and very different from what we have all known about antiquity – the Scythians.

14.07.2017 - Letter of Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov to the Herald newspaper, published 13.07.2017

I NOTE a rather questionable article by Mark McLaughlin (“Russians lurking near Faslane to eavesdrop on nuclear submarines", The Herald, July 11). Do you really believe that 145 million Russians would elect a leader who would command his nuclear submarines to chase someone's sole and lonely operative U-boat which is firing missiles in the opposite direction or Type 45 destroyers with faulty engines or an aircraft carrier without aircraft on it, all of them being located in Scottish waters?

all messages