TURKISH INVESTMENTS IN RUSSIAN ECONOMY TO INCREASE BY $2.5 BILLION, AMBASSADOR SAYS

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MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti) - Turkish investments in Russian economy may be increased by $2.5 billion in the next 2-4 years, said Turkish ambassador to Russia Kurtulus Taskent.

"Turkish investments in Russian economy total some $2 billion. I know that Turkish companies will make new investments in Russia. Taking into account the rates of Turkish investments I can say that the volume of Turkish investments in Russian economy can be increased by $2.5 billion in the next 2-4 years," the ambassador said at a press conference.

At the moment, Russian-Turkish trade turnover is worth $9 billion, 35% more than in 2003, he added.

"In two years the Russian-Turkish trade turnover may reach $15 billion," the ambassador continued.

In his words, tourism is the priority cooperation trend between our countries. According to 2004 results, 1.7 million Russian tourists are expected to visit Turkey.

"Another strategic cooperation aspect is the purchase of natural gas. Turkey is second largest consumer of Russian gas after Germany," Kurtulus Taskent said.

On Tuesday the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted the constituent session of the Russian-Turkish business council. Former Russian ambassador to Turkey was elected its chairman.

According to President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Yevgeny Primakov, the task of the business council is to create favorable conditions for Russian and Turkish companies.

Speaking about Turkey's accession to the European Union, Mr. Primakov told RIA Novosti that Moscow and Ankara are taking all efforts to round off rough corners beforehand.

Russia boasts reach experience of cooperation with EU member-states, he noted. "Turkey's accession to the EU concerns only Turkey and the EU. If Turkey joint the EU its friends will be happy," the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry stressed.

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