Presidents of Turkey and Russia vow to establish peace in Syria's Idlib region, increase bilateral trade, and speed S-400 missile delivery, during high-level talks in Moscow.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan [R] shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on April 8, 2019.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan [R] shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on April 8, 2019. (AA)

Turkey's president said on Monday that Turkey and Russia both want to eliminate terrorists from Idlib, a region in northwestern Syria near Turkish borders.

"Ankara will never allow an entity that poses a threat to Turkish and Syrian territorial integrity," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at Kremlin.

Ankara continues to take measures on Idlib since it is a "sensitive" issue for Turkey, Erdogan said.

He stressed that Idlib must be completely cleared of terrorism for people to return safely to their homes.

Erdogan also said that both countries are determined to eliminate the terror threats near Turkey's borders, adding that the terrorist groups PKK and the YPG – its Syrian branch – pose a threat like Daesh.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children. 

Putin, for his part, said that Turkish-Russian efforts in Idlib will finally lead to eliminating the terrorist threat there.

Calling the Idlib problem "pressing," he added that a joint Russian-Turkish monitoring centre will be established.

TRT World's Hasan Abdullah reports from Moscow.

Strong trade ties

Putin praised talks in Moscow as "very successful" and helping to boost the development of Turkish-Russian ties.

He stressed the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries, adding that a Russian-Turkish investment fund created on Monday will be able to attract at least $5 billion in investments.

Putin said that Russia is doing its best to ensure economic independence for both countries, including trading in national currencies with Turkey.

He called Russian-Turkish cooperation in the energy domain "strategic" and promised to complete construction of the Akkuyu nuclear plant by 2023, the centenary of the Turkish Republic.

The TurkStream pipeline, now under construction, will let Turkey become a transit country for delivering Russian natural gas to Europe, he said.

S-400 missile sale

Putin said he discussed with Erdogan the delivery of S-400 missile defence systems and other arms purchases, adding that Russia and Turkey will boost cooperation in arms.

He also said that Russian journalists will come to Turkey for an exchange program, which will contribute to stronger ties.

In another trade boost, Putin said that the visa requirement for Turkish truck drivers will be cancelled in the near future.

"Ankara and Moscow are willing to further enhance relations," said President Erdogan, adding that the next high-level meeting with Russia will be hosted by Turkey.

The two leaders chaired the eighth meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council following one-on-one talks at Kremlin.

Source: AA