Heads of BSEC states sign declaration of Istanbul summit

The speech by Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Ashot Ashot Hovakimian at the 25th summit of heads of state and government of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) member states in Istanbul has caused Turkish President Erdogan's dissatisfaction.

Turkey and Russian Federation signed a joint declaration to remove trade restrictions between the two countries on Monday.

Before Medvedev, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Energy Minister Alexander Novak came to Istanbul to participate in a preliminary meeting as part of the summit hosted by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş on May 21.

The signing marked an important step in normalising and improving economic and trade relations between Turkey and Russian Federation, they said. The first concerns restrictions imposed particularly on construction and tourism sector, which may be eased partially. Russia, however, insisted on keeping restrictions on Turkish tomato imports as well as postponing the reintroduction of a visa-free regime for Turkish nationals. Following the jet downing crisis in November 2015, free-visa entry to Russian Federation for Turkish citizens was revoked.

A diplomatic crisis after Turkey shot down a Russian air force jet in 2015 near the Turkish-Syrian border prompted trade sanctions. In October 2016, the Russian embargo on Turkish stone fruits and citrus fruits was lifted aside from a number of vegetable articles.

The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization is an intergovernmental organization uniting 12 states of the Black Sea and the Southern Balkans.

After a reconciliation deal in summer a year ago, relations have seen a rapid improvement with the two sides working together in a bid to end the Syria conflict.

  • Leroy Wright