Decisive week in talks with Russia

In trade negotiations between Turkey and Russia there comes a crucial turn. Russian-Turkish trade relations, which move in the direction of the decisive clash against the background of recent steps of Turkey taken in response to the bans, has long been used by Russia, will be discussed at a series of upcoming meetings. After Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek (Mehmet Şimşek) and economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci (Nihat Zeybekçi) 18 APR visited Moscow, the process has accelerated. April 27 to Turkey arrives, a technical delegation from Russia at the level of Deputy Minister of economy to discuss bans. At the end of this week, economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci and Minister of energy of Russia Alexander Novak will hold a conference call with broad participation.

A statement from Russia

The Minister of agriculture of Russia, Tkachev noted that negotiations with the Turkish officials continue, and Russia hopes that common sense will prevail. Tkachev, expressing the expectation that an agreement that satisfies both parties is reached within two weeks, said, “I hope we will emerge from this crisis.”

And after the negotiations to be held with co-Chairman intergovernmental Russian-Turkish Commission on trade and economic cooperation (KEK) Novak, it is expected that Turkey may 6-7, will visit the delegation headed by Vice Prime Minister of Russia Arkady Dvorkovich. Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, who says about these, in a sense, the fateful negotiations for the Turkish-Russian trade relations “we decided to discuss everything”, hoping for “a speedy resolution of the situation.”

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, who took part in the celebrations of the “Day of Turkey” in Dublin, organised jointly by the Council of foreign economic relations of Turkey and Enterprise Ireland, in an interview with Dünya commented on his visit to Russia. The main points of the Minister Zeybekci, who answered our questions about Turkish-Russian trade relations are the following.

Ban even for crew members…

— All sanctions and embargoes that Russia applies in relation to Turkey, have emerged on the agenda in connection with the plane crash in November 2015. It was the only basis. After a favorable climate that emerged in relations between our President and President Putin of Russia in the summer of 2016, we expect a quick return of trade relations of countries on the level until November 2015. Statements were also in this direction. But later, unfortunately, we saw that the process has not moved forward as expected. In agricultural products with a total value of $ 750 million was opened only part of the production in the amount of $ 100 million. It banned the activities of Turkish companies. Here, too, no improvement. Continued visa restrictions. The ban was imposed on Turkish drivers of transport companies.

The ban touched even the crew members of Turkish airlines. It is still in force, and we hope to rectify the situation this week. I mean visa restrictions for crew members; no country in the world has not applied this measure.

We told Russia about the situation with “DIR”…

— At the talks in Saint Petersburg we expected a more favorable atmosphere. We were hoping that things would get better. On the high-level meeting in Moscow, the leaders said Russian energy Minister Novak, I, as the co-chair of the KEK from Turkey. We said openly: “as for Turkey, we did not impose any restrictions and do not intend to enter. But there was one perk we provided: license for internal processing. We have exporters that process the agricultural products that come from Russia, and sell them in third countries. These exporters at the same time, exported to Russia. These exporters and our agriculture sector has a strong lobby. They provide us intense pressure. Now for Russia, which we in the mode of internal recycling (DIR) was granted the privilege to import, zero customs duty on the import of certain agricultural products (which we protect such rates as 130%, 70%, 36%, 19%), it becomes difficult to do so. And will be even harder…”

Russia was not followed by a response.

We saw that response in this regard was not followed. And when not followed, our exporters have ceased to enter Russia in their requests in the framework of DIR. And so we also stopped to prepare the documents DIR for Russia. And it covers some of the most important products as wheat, and unrefined sunflower oil. It rarely appeared on the agenda, but unrefined sunflower oil we import is of the order of 750-800 million dollars. Wheat — about $ 600 million. On wheat we are the second importers of Russia. Sunflower oil we are the first importers. For other types of products we are the first exporters. All we import in the amount of $ 1.8 billion.

We deliberately stretched the investigation

— When we stopped to prepare a license for internal processing, began telephone negotiations with the Russian side. We said, “ban?” “This is not a ban, we said. — You can make any export to Turkey, subject to payment of customs duties. We did not think of prohibition, which was introduced you.” Despite the fact that at that time we were busy with campaign preparations for the referendum, our bilateral contacts have continued. Negotiations were held and with the participation of Mehmet Simsek. Immediately after the referendum we Mehmet Sensecam visited Russia. We discussed a ban. There were some anti-dumping investigations that we conducted. They were not completed. This process will be slightly delayed. We deliberately have stretched it. Because we don’t focus on the negative result…

The appeal to common sense in response to the hint about the Charter…

In the course of our negotiations, the Russian side hinted at some of the negative consequences that may arise in connection with Charter flights. We said that with the ban we may come to nothing, you need to use common sense. If you introduce a ban, I insist on it, while the opposite side is not automatically introduces a ban, it is in the political sense, puts us into question. A ban gives birth to another. Negative rhetoric necessarily entail negative rhetoric and the opposite side. Let’s not do it, we said.

Decided to continue negotiations

— Thursday, April 27, the Turkey visit of technical delegation headed by Deputy Minister of economy of Russia. We will hold talks on technical issues. At the end of the week we have a co-chair of the KEK Novak immediately after technical work teleconference will be held with wide participation. 3 may our President will visit Russia. Does his agenda for the economy, I don’t know. 6-7 may we expect the arrival of Vice-Premier of Russia, which will be a return visit on our arrival with Sensecam in Russia. They confirmed the visit. We want to sit down and solve everything.

We could not achieve any progress on the issue of prohibitions imposed by the Russian side, but after our exporters have ceased to specify Russia in queries by DIR, any negotiation traffic with Russia. The parties reached the negotiating table. We decided to discuss in the coming period. After our negotiations on 18 April I’m honestly looking more positive on the prospects for solving…

We can import meat from Russia

Russia has expressed desire to export meat and dairy products in Turkey. We just had this view: “We do not mind, there are no obstacles to that.” We will discuss this issue. If all the technical characteristics we can buy meat from Russia, because we are the importer of red meat. Of course, subject to some sensitive moments. Other types of products too. We don’t introduce bans. In the coming period and prohibitions in the field of agriculture, and prohibitions in respect of the business, and all restrictions on our agricultural products, and events associated with products worth $ 1.8 billion, imported under licenses for internal processing, all will be discussed at the negotiating table. I would note that our total imports in the framework of DIR is around three billion dollars. We don’t want all that risk. And our imports from Russia excluding energy is of the order of seven billion dollars. In other words, if we follow the path of prohibition, this would harm both countries. One less, the other slightly more, but common sense should prevail, and the two sides need to trade without restrictions. There is no other way. It is a principle of business…

In connection with the tomatoes they had this approach: “We will do to produce tomatoes.” For God’s sake. If any country produces agricultural products, well, what else can we say. But the ban is unacceptable. The rule here is: you increase the duty, to protect the goods. Who pays the duty, and that comes on the market.

During our conversation the Minister of economy Nihat Zeybekci has repeatedly expressed faith in the positive developments in the future. And especially emphasized: “After the arrival of the Russian delegation on may 6-7 high likelihood of rapid decision.” Obviously, both sides put the cards on the table. No one is going to give unilaterally. With the path selected does not minimize. In the next 10-15 days the parties or approaching the solution of problems in trade relations, or the situation is even more complicated. At the moment the two sides agree in the necessity of finding a solution.