Putin Restores Fruit Imports, TurkStream, Nuclear Projects in Meeting with Turkish President Erdogan

October 11, 2016
President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan meeting in the Mabeyn Palace in the Yildiz Palace Complex, once the Sultan's residence in the Ottoman Empire. Photo by Kremlin.ru

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Putin Restores Fruit Imports, TurkStream, Nuclear Projects in Meeting with Turkish President Erdogan

President Vladimir Putin met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday, October 10, in conjunction with his visit to Turkey to attend the World Energy Congress in IstanbulKremlin.ru and world media reported.

Putin’s visit sealed the restoration of relations with Erdogan following the shoot-down by Turkish military of a Russian plane near the Syrian border last November which led to a halt in air travel and tourist trips, boycotts of produce and suspension of other projects such as TurkStream, a pipeline running from Russia’s southern Krasnodar Region across the Black Sea to Turkish Thrace.

Now, as Putin announced at a press conference following the summit, Turkish fruits will once again be admitted into the Russian marked, an important measure as this market was valued at $500 million last year and involves pitted fruits and citrus that Russia itself does not grow.

More ambitiously, TurkStream is now back on track, as has been hinted by previous announcements last week, with the prospect of discounted gas for Turkey, as Putin noted, and represents a compensation for the Western decision to abandon South Stream in the wake of sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine.

Putin brought with him to Istanbul Russian military officials and Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft, shown seated in the hall facing the camera behind Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

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2016-10-12 04:12:51

Putin also endorsed a proposed limiting of oil production by OPEC as a way to “save the stability of the energy sector” — by which he means the Russian economy, whose currency fluctuations have been tied to the price of oil. Brent crude rose to $53 per barrel after Putin’s remarks and is now at $52.

Putin noted that projects with Turkey also include a nuclear power station that involves transfer of Russian technology and the training of 200 Turkish nuclear specialists.

Putin also covered Russian-Turkish cooperation on Syria, not describing any specifics of their agreements and invoking past generalities about the need for a political solution,  but calling out the US, claiming that it “can’t or won’t” cooperate on delivering humanitarian aid. 

The warming of Russian-Turkish relations has occurred against a backdrop of terrorist attacks and a coup attempt against Erdogan, and Erdogan’s massive crackdown on civil society. 

China’s Xinua news service and Iran’s Press TV were among the media showing Putin and Erdogan standing at or seated in elaborate golden chairs that looked like thrones. These photos were credited to Kremlin.ru although Kremlin.ru itself did not use them in its own coverage.

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Turkey, Russia ready to finalize natural gas project

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, October 10, 2016. The Turkish and Russian leaders on Monday voiced their readiness to finalize a deal on the so-called "Turkish Stream" project that will carry Russian natural gas to Turkey and possibly Europe.

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Oct 12, 2016 07:54 (GMT)

This sparked comment from some social media users.

The thrones are part of an elaborate set of a dozen chairs in the Mabeyn Palace in the Yildiz Palace Complex, a historical site once used as a residence of the Sultan and his court during the Ottoman Empire.

Not just Putin has been invited to sit in this golden chair, but US Vice President Joseph Biden on August  24, 2016; German Chancellor Angela Merkel on April 15, 2016 ; and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Putin isn’t above posing in thrones as needed, and invoking them.

In an interview with Bild last year, Putin chided the West over its sanctions due to Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine:

“NATO and the USA wanted a complete victory over the Soviet Union. They wanted to sit on the throne in Europe alone. But now they are sitting there, and we are talking about all these crises we would otherwise not have.”

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick