Turkey: From Russia with love

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ANTALYA, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15 : Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C-R) holds a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (C-L) on the sidelines of the G20 Turkey Leaders Summit on November 15, 2015 in Antalya, Turkey. Aykut Unlupinar / Anadolu Agency

Turkey and Russia are getting cosy.

And they’re now looking to up bilateral trade.

Russia’s new ambassador to Turkey thinks that trade between the two could soon hit $100bn.

History

Whilst bilateral trade volume has dropped significantly since 2010, Turkish companies have a long history of Russian activity: many operate out of the Alabuga Free Trade Zone and have Russian investments worth $10bn. Similarly, Russian companies have invested and completed large infrastructure projects in Turkey.

Turkish stream pipeline

This is currently being built with Russian help. And Russia has insisted it will be completed, even with the emergence of new US sanctions against its energy sector.

Iran

They also work together overseas: both are jointly developing natural gas fields in Iran.

Eurasian Customs Union

Turkey is seeking to join the trade bloc, which Russia is a member of, after spending years of being snubbed by the EU. Turkey’s move may also be down to poor relations with Washington, worsened by the perceived notion that last year’s coup had western backing.

Rotten tomatoes

Relations cooled in 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian jet over its airspace, leading to Russia banning Turkish agricultural goods. This bar has recently been eased but tomatoes are still excluded. With relations continuing to warm, trade in what was once a major Turkish export to Russia could resume, even if the Russians are becoming self sufficient in the fruit. If it doesn’t, it may lead to a recooling as Turkey has threatened reciprocal bans.

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