Bilateral trade between two countries last year amounted to $25.4 billion, with Russia dominating it by exporting nearly $22 billion to Turkey. The improvement in relations with Russia has not been economically successful for Turkey and the trade deficit with Moscow has deteriorated further to $18.6 billion. The issue of the use of national currencies in trade transactions, particularly in the context of bilateral trade, has been the subject of several discussions between Russia and Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed the wider use of national currencies in trade between the two countries and expressed support, a situation that would minimize the negative effects of external factors. Turkey`s political orientation towards Russia, despite its conflicting interests, has increased Turkey`s economic dependence on Russia. Turkey is vulnerable in both energy and non-energy trade, and close cooperation in the monetary and financial fields could now damage Turkey`s already tarnished reputation for financial transparency. Turkey and Russia are working to increase their trade to $100 billion, a goal the two heads of state and government have set for themselves. Although Russian tourists spent $3.7 billion in Turkey and Turkish companies earned $4.2 billion from construction projects in Russia in 2018, the massive trade deficit is far from filling the massive trade deficit. Russia is Turkey`s main energy supplier. With its energy dependence on Russia, the composition of Turkish exports to Russia makes Russian demand politically relevant, increasing Turkey`s vulnerability in bilateral trade. Moreover, after the failure of the 2016 coup, Turkey`s strategic shift from Russia in terms of foreign relations proved to be largely beneficial for Russia, as the trade balance continued to shift in its favour.
Putin added that the volume of Turkish-Russian investment had reached $20 billion. The Russian president said that sales revenue increased by 15% last year to reach $25 billion. “Since the 1990s, economic cooperation has been the backbone of the bilateral relationship between our countries,” he said. Erdogan confirmed that Turkey and Russia would sign three documents, which will be a step forward for the future of the two countries. In addition to expanding bilateral trade, Turkey welcomed millions of Russian tourists last year. “We set a record last year when we welcomed 6 million Russian tourists,” Erdogan said. Russia was last year the cheapest market for the Turkish tourism sector with 5.96 million visitors; about 15.1 percent of all foreign visitors to Turkey. The country welcomed a total of 39.5 million foreign visitors in 2018, 21.84 percent more than the previous year, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
On the other hand, President Putin said that the two countries had agreed to improve their relations in accordance with their enhanced cooperation framework. According to the Russian news agency TASS, Russia and Turkey could expand their bilateral trade by removing the remaining restrictions in this area.