G20 Summit: Russia and Turkey nearing free trade deal as bonds strengthen

14:50 Sep. 4, 2016

Russia and Turkey nearing free trade deal as bonds strengthen

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speak during their meeting ahead of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. (AP Photo)

Putin and Erdogan close to reaching agreement on FTA after meeting at G20 summit in China

Ankara and Moscow plan to strike a free trade deal till the end of the year, Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Sunday, September 4, following the meeting between Presidents Erdogan and Putin at G20 summit in China, Deutsche Welle reports.

Read also: Expert Analysis on Erdogan's Endgame: Meeting Biden after ‘dear friend' Putin

Ulyukayev also said, the two countries were close to creating a Russian-Turkish investment fund, as well as getting to the specific details on the construction of the controversial Turkish stream gas pipeline.

Kyiv and several Western reps earlier said the pipeline threatened Ukraine, which serves as the main transit country of Russian gas to Europe. If Ankara and Moscow agree to build Turkish stream, the Kremlin could deliver its energy to the EU via Turkey, bypassing Ukraine and heavily impacting its source of income.

Putin and Erdogan also discussed Moscow's possible decision to lift commerce embargo, imposed by Russia after the SU-24 incident.

‘We are working to lift these restrictions, and we expect that our Turkish colleagues will take a relevant step towards it too', Ulyukayev said.

Read also: Moscow and Ankara reach consensus on normalizing their relations

Previous meeting between Putin and Erdogan on August 9 was their first since Ankara shot down Russian fighter jet, accusing Moscow of violating its territorial borders.

The Kremlin imposed economic and political sanctions in response and demanded apologies from Turkey. 

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