Interior Minister Beşir Atalay said at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Rashid Gumarovich Nurgaliyev, that the talks were also in preparation for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Turkey, scheduled to take place in May. Atalay said an extensive agreement on security cooperation would be signed during Medvedev’s visit.
Turkish-Russian ties have grown considerably in recent years, with giant joint energy projects constituting the backbone of the cooperation. Ties have been also expanding in areas of tourism, trade and construction, while there has been limited progress in security cooperation thus far. Atalay said such a growth in ties between the two societies makes cooperation in the security field a necessity. Turkey and Russia should also join forces to fight drug smuggling, whose transit routes have recently been shifting from Turkey towards the Black Sea, the minister added. Nurgaliyev said the agreement to be signed during Medvedev’s visit would expand Russian-Turkish cooperation against cross-border crimes, terrorism and extremist groups and drug smuggling.