There are deep-rooted relations between Russia and Turkey which share both European and Asian characteristics emanating from history, culture and a common geography. A written request by Russian Czar Ivan III to send a diplomatic mission to İstanbul in 1492 is regarded as the beginning of Turkish-Russian diplomatic relations. While Turkey recognized the USSR in 1920, the Soviet Union was the first great power to recognize the Ankara Government during the National War of Independence.
Bilateral relations have been based on new foundations with Russia’s orientation to a pluralistic democracy and market economy following the Cold War, and new cooperation opportunities and perspectives have emerged, particularly in the economic field.
Substantial developments in economic cooperation after 1991 have helped to intensify and improve the political dialogue as well. Reciprocal visits and talks at technical levels, as well as at high levels during the last few years have reinforced the mutual confidence and helped dissipate the prejudices of the Cold War.
During Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel’s visit to Russia, “The Agreement on Principles of Relations between Turkey and the Russian Federation” was signed on May 25th, 1992. In November 2001, the foreign ministers of the two coun-tries signed the “Action Plan for Cooperation in Eurasia”,which has transformed the relationship from a bilateral cooperation to a multifaceted partnership. The Russian President Vladimir Putin paid an official visit to Turkey on December 5th and 6th, 2004. It is possible to say that this visit was the first of its kind in USSR and Russian history. During this visit, 10th President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Russian President Putin signed “The Joint Declaration on the Intensification of Friendship and Multidimensional Partnership between Republic of Turkey and the Russian Federation”. This declaration, amounting to a road map in further developing bilateral relations, aims to upgrade bilateral cooperation to the level of multidimensional partnership.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid three working visits to the Russian Federation in 2005. Meanwhile, President Putin visited Samsun to attend the inauguration of the Blue Stream Natural Gas Pipeline.
The official visit of 10th President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to Russia on June 28th-30th, 2006 at the invitation of President Putin was of great importance, as it was the first visit at thepresidential level from Turkey since the foundation of the Russian Federation.
Economic, commercial and energy cooperation continue to form the leading sectors in Turkish-Russian relations. The volume of trade, targetted to reach 25 billion USD by 2008, reached, even passed, this figure in 2007. The contract value of the projects undertaken by Turkish contractors in Russia amounted to 23.5 billion USD at the end of 2007. Turkish direct investments in Russia, on the other hand, amounted to the figure of 5.6 billion USD. The number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey reached the 2.5 million in 2007. The Blue Stream Natural Gas Pipeline Project, which is an indicator that the two sides view these relations on a long-term perspective, has raised the relations between the two countries to a strategic character.
The relations between the two countries are increasing considerably in fields such as culture, science and education. In 2007, “Russian Cultural Year” events were organized in Turkey. On the other hand in Russia, 2008 is celebrated as “Turkish Cultural Year.”