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Russian-Turkey Relations

Following immediately after the fragmentation of the U.S.S.R., relations between the two nations dramatically and strongly improved; On May 25, 1992 A visit to Moscow by Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel saw the signing of a Russian-Turkish treaty on the foundations of their relations.

Although disagreements regarding the border dispute over the Caucasus and support of each other's lifelong historical adversaries both linger. Russia is somewhat skeptical of Turkey's admission in to the European Union and has recognized the Armenian Genocide which has the potential of damaging its relations with Turkey, but both countries are key strategic partners in the Transcaucasian region.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan flew to Sochi, Russia, for a 16 May 2009 “working visit” with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at which he stated, “Turkey and Russia have responsibilities in the region. We have to take steps for the peace and well being of the region. This includes the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, the Middle East dispute, the Cyprus problem.” Putin responded that, “Russia and Turkey seek for such problems to be resolved and will facilitate this in every way,” but, “As for difficult problems from the past – and the Karabakh problem is among such issues – a compromise should be found by the participants in the conflict. Other states which help reach a compromise in this aspect can play a role of mediators and guarantors to implement the signed agreements.” Whilst on the subject of energy security Erdoğan stated that, “The agreement on gas supplies through the so-called Western route signed in 1986 is expiring in 2012. We have agreed today to immediately start work to prolong this agreement.”

Despite the disagreements of the past, relations between Turkey and Russia have improved and become exceptional under Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. In May 2010, a high level visit by the Russian President to Turkey saw the signing of numerous deals such as the lifting of visa requirements. The deals are also expected to make the current trade value of 38 billion dollars increase to as much as 100 billion dollars within the next five years. Both countries have found a mutual interest in shoring up large investments between the two states, especially in the energy sector, where Russia has shown significant interest. Turkey and Russia also signed a multi-billion dollar nuclear power plant deal which will be built by Russian company Atomstroyexport. It will be Russia's first built and owned foreign power plant. The project is expected to cost up to 20 billion dollars and investment in land, labour and capital will all be covered by Russia under the agreement, but will make this money back through electricity sales. The construction of the power plant in Akkuyu, Mersin, is expected to take up to several years to build, according to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a statement released shortly after the visit by the Russian leader.

According to the Turkish foreign trade minister Zafer Çağlayan, Russia offered Turkey the prospects of setting up a joint bank to further boost trade between the two countries, an example of the good ties forged by both countries in recent years.

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