09:53 GMT +327 April 2018
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    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara on April 3, 2018

    Putin, Erdogan Hold Joint Press Conference (VIDEO)

    © AFP 2018 / ADEM ALTAN
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    The Russian president has arrived in Ankara for talks with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts on April 3. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin have launched the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant earlier in the day.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are holding a joint press conference on the first day of talks in the Turkish capital.

    READ MORE: Economic Ties With Russia Will Grow as Turkish Trade With EU Falls — Specialist

    The sides were expected to discuss economic issues, the implementation of strategic projects such as the Akkuyu nuclear power plant as well as the delivery of Russian S-400 air defense systems to Turkey.

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    Bilateral Relations

    Speaking about sending the Russian S-400 air defense systems to Turkey, Putin revealed that the terms of fulfilling the contract will be boosted, due to a request from his Turkish counterpart. The Turkish president added that the two countries may in future cooperate beyond the S-400 shipment, but didn't give any details. Answering a question about factors that can hamper relations between Russia and Turkey, the Russian president noted that there are no such factors.

    "You asked about negative and provocative factors. We do not have such with Turkey. Our bilateral relations, on the contrary, are developing constructively," Putin said.

    READ MORE: Turkey to Use Russia's S-400 Air Defense System to Protect Akkuyu NPP — Academic

    The Turkish president, on his part, added that outside attempts to ruin bilateral relations between the countries have failed.

    "Certain circles have attempted to poison relations between our countries. On the contrary — our relations have strengthened. Four agreements on cooperation between Russia and Turkey, that were signed today, will also serve this goal," Erdogan said.

    ‘OPCW Meeting Will Put an End to Speculations'

    President Putin also commented on the Skripal case, saying that according to international experts roughly 20 states in the world are capable of producing nerve agents like the one used in Salisbury. He is also confident that the truth will be revealed during the upcoming OPCW meeting.

    "We are calling for this meeting to study this situation very thoroughly. And we hope that this discussion will put an end to the speculations as to what really happened there [in Salisbury]," Putin said.

    READ MORE: London Admits Russia's Alleged Guilt in 'Skripal Case' Based on Assumptions

    He also noted that some 20 questions will be brought up by Russia during the meeting.

    "We want to gain access to this investigation and are hoping to receive its materials, because this is a matter of Russian citizens' lives," Putin said.

    Common Projects

    The Turkish president shared information that the cost of the Akkuyu nuclear plant project, which is constructed by Russia's Rosatom, exceeds $20 billion. This will be the first such power plant in the country.

    Speaking on the energy market, Putin admired the steady progress of the construction of the "Turkish Stream" pipeline, noting that when it's done, it will not only meet the demand on the Turkish natural gas market, but can also increase the energy security of southeastern Europe, if it desires this.

    "This [project] will allow filling in the demand […] in several countries in the southeastern Europe, in case, of course, they are willing to strengthen the energy security of the region," the Russian president said.

    READ MORE: Turkish Stream is 'Russia's Trump Card' in Rivalry With US in Europe — Analyst

    Among other things the two presidents discussed the Syrian conflict and steps to its resolution. The Russian president said that opportunities to strengthen the ceasefire regime and inter-group dialogue have been investigated. He also confirmed the adherence of both countries to combating terrorism in Syria and to maintaining the country's territorial integrity. Erdogan has confirmed that Russia and Turkey share a similar view on certain "regional topics," including Syria.

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    Tags:
    Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Russia, Ankara
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