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Putin may visit Turkey in October, Turkish businessman says

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Russian President Vladimir Putin may visit Turkey in October, a prominent Turkish businessman said on Wednesday.

Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, who is currently in Moscow with a delegation of Turkish businessmen for talks with Russian officials on removing barriers against Turkish businessmen, announced the possible visit at a press briefing.

Hisarcıklıoğlu and the Turkish delegation met with Aleksei Likhachev, deputy Russian minister for economic development, in Moscow on Wednesday. The Turkish businessmen then spoke to reporters about the current state of bilateral economic ties.

He said the Turkish businessmen expect Putin to raise the issue of the stalled Turkish Stream project and lift restrictions on Turkish companies, during his possible visit to Turkey next month.

Diplomatic relations were severely strained after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane last year, plunging the ties to their lowest level in decades.

Earlier this summer the two sides agreed to mend relations. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Putin in St. Petersburg in August, a visit that illustrated a strong desire to move forward.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated during the press briefing that he wants to see the trade volume between the two countries return to its pre-crisis level.

He called for the elimination of visas for Turkish businessmen who have operations in Russia, noting that Russia’s current visa regime for Turkish nationals creates obstacles and problems for Turkish businessmen.

Confirming Hisarcıklıoğlu’s remarks about Putin’s possible visit to Turkey, Kremlin Press Spokesman Dmitri Peskov said the Russian president might visit Turkey in October.

“We don’t rule out this possibility. When all preparations are completed, we will make the announcement needed,” he told reporters at a separate press meeting.

Putin’s last visit to Turkey was in 2015 to attend G20 summit in Antalya.

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