By Emre G├╝rkan Abay
Russia letter, week beginning August 15

- Historical meeting between Erdogan and Putin

Last week’s historical meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin was the main topic of discussion, not only in both countries but also in the global media.

According to the initial outcome of the meeting, both leaders agreed to leave behind the mutual crisis atmosphere, which arose after the Turkish jet shot down a Russian warplane last November.

Both countries also agreed to boost trade relations and renewed their target of $100 billion trade volume, which was voiced before the crisis took place.

The current bilateral trade volume dropped to $20 billion annually, not only because of strained relations, but also because of Russian economic problems due to low oil prices.

Erdogan and Putin also emphasized the importance of energy cooperation and in particular, the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project and Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, and pledged to take further steps to realize these two mega-projects.

The use of local currencies, the ruble and lira, in trade between the two countries was another topic of discussion. Speaking to Anadolu Agency, experts noted that this could boost the trade volume between the two countries, while creating new business opportunities.

However, they also stressed that the process of switching from trading in U.S. dollars to local currencies had many obstacles and required a very strong political will behind it in order to be successfully realized.

- Trust in Ruble increases

While oil prices surged last week due to statements from Saudi Arabia of potential cooperation with other oil producing countries to stabilize oil prices at the upcoming informal meeting in September, a survey in Russia showed that Russians’ trust in the country’s currency is also on the increase.

According to a poll carried out by public research company VTSIOM, the percentage of Russian citizens who prefer to keep their savings in Russian ruble reached 60 percent - the highest level in 2016 compared to 55 percent in January this year.



15 Aug,2016