May 13 2010

Davutoglu said, the visa exemption agreement between Turkey and Russia
was a "revolutionary step".

Thursday, 13 May 2010 13:23

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday the visa
exemption agreement between Turkey and Russia that was signed on
Wednesday was a "revolutionary step".

Speaking on Haberturk TV channel, Davutoglu said that Russian tourists
may come to Turkey without visa this summer.

Turkish businesspeople, intellectuals and tourists will be able to
travel to Russia without a need for visa, Davutoglu said.

Four high level visits took place between Turkey and Russia in a
year. Our relations were not competition but rather cooperation and
economic integration, Davutoglu said.

In the past five years, the nature of Turkey-Russia relations went
through a change. This change would make serious contributions to
stability from the Balkans to China, Davutoglu said.

The model of "High Level Strategic Cooperation Council" was one
developed by Turkey. In the event economic union is established with
countries in such councils, the Turkish economy would benefit from
such an entity, Davutoglu said.

Touching on energy agreements made with Russia, Davutoglu said that
such agreements defeated the thesis that Turkey and Russia were in
competition with each other in the field of energy.

We are establishing a model with Russia that shows how we are
progressing into cooperation and (economic) integration rather than
competition, Davutoglu said.

"Psychological change"

In regard to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit
to Greece on Friday, Davutoglu said that the Turkish government was
working to create an atmosphere of psychological change.

We are trying to change the perception that the two countries are in
competition with each other, Davutoglu said.

Our goal in bilateral relations with Greece is not merely to minimize
tensions. We have to maximize the number of areas in which cooperation
may take place so that no notion of tension remains in minds,
Davutoglu said.

We do want to reach economic integration with Greece. We plan
to develop relations in areas ranging from economy to tourism,
Davutoglu said.

In reference to Turkey's relations with Armenia, Davutoglu stressed
that no one would benefit if the protocols signed between Turkey and
Armenia get suspended.

Turning back from the protocols is neither to the interest of Turkey
nor Armenia, Davutoglu said.

Just as in the Balkans, Turkey will help realize "psychological
revolution" in the Caucasus. We will turn the Caucasus into a region
of peace and security, Davutoglu also said.