In response to a written parliamentary question posed by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Trabzon deputy Koray Aydın, Çağlayan noted: “After the Port of Sochi was closed in October of last year for reconstruction as part of Russia's preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics, we expected a decline in Turkish exports to Russia because of possible transportation problems. However, last year Turkey's fresh fruit and vegetable exports to the Russian Federation, which stood at $898 million in 2010, increased to $942 million.”
Recalling that Russia had originally planned to close the port to cargo vessels in April 2010 but pushed the date back to September following a request by the Turkish economy ministry, Çağlayan said a joint working group had been established to evaluate other alternative ports. Underlining that they have held extensive negotiations with their Russian counterparts, he said that, during a Turkish-Russian Joint Economic Commission meeting held in İstanbul on Dec. 15 of last year, Russia allowed Turkish vessels carrying construction materials to use the Port of Adler, while Turkish vessels carrying fresh fruit and vegetables would use the ports of Tuapse and Kavkaz.
Çağlayan said that in order to develop Trabzon into a center for Turkish exports to Russia and other Central Asian countries, the ministry had decided to establish a logistics center in Trabzon's Çamburnu distinct. Çağlayan also pointed out that they are working intensively to develop alternative routes to prevent any possible losses that Turkish businesses who export to Russia could face due to delays.
“This is why we want to open up new transit routes between Turkey and Russia via Georgia,” Çağlayan said. He also noted that he would pay a working visit to Georgia and Russia in June of next year to further discuss the issue.