Turks to return regular flight from Kazan to Antalya

Consul General of Turkey in Kazan İsmet Erikan sums up the performance in 2019 and talked about plans for 2020

At a meeting with journalists on 26 December, the consul general of Turkey in Kazan summed up the performance in 2019 and outlined plans for the future. The diplomat particularly talked about increasing commodity turnover between Tatarstan and his country, his upcoming visit to Ufa and a new regular flight to a popular health destination for Russian tourists.

Ready Rady Khabirov

“Good morning,” the consul general said in Tatar and noted that he had been in Kazan for just three months. By the way, he already understands Tatar quite well. During the meeting with the press, İsmet Erikan repeated many points he told Realnoe Vremya in an interview after his appointment in the capital of Tatarstan.

The diplomat noted that over this time he had had the time to meet with the officials of the republic — President Rustam Minnikhanov, State Adviser of the Republic of Tatarstan and First President Mintimer Shaimiyev, Speaker of the State Council Farid Mukhametshin.

Moreover, he visited the regions that are in his consular district: Samara Oblast, Chuvashia, Mari El and Mordovia. He also had several meetings with local authorities, discussed possibilities of trade and economic and cultural cooperation. He intends to go to Bashkiria, one of the key regions of the Volga Region, in January. So Ufa has time to get ready to receive the Turkish guest.

“We are sowing the grain to develop relationships with these regions faster. I think green shoots will appear soon,” Erikan said metaphorically in an Eastern style.

He also reminded that Minister of Industry and Technologies of the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Varank visited Tatarstan in early December. During two and a half days, the functionary visited Kazan, Innopolis, Yelabuga and Naberezhnye Chelny. The minister, in turn, invited Minnikhanov to Turkey. A delegation of Turkey’s third-biggest city — İzmir— arrived in Kazan too together with its Mayor Tunç Soyer.

$1bn-turnover as new task

At the same time, İsmet Erikan noted an increase of commodity turnover between Turkey and Tatarstan.

“This year commodity turnover between Turkey and Tatarstan has exceeded $345 million (Editor’s Note: from January to September 2019),” he said. Last year, this indicator was $345 million. As we see, there is a rise. It means we are making small steps in the right direction.”

The speaker is also sure that the bar set at $1 billion is real as “we have no other way”. However, the official Turkey representative added that the cooperation shouldn’t be unilateral.

“I see that big Tatar companies invest in different countries. We also have big opportunities. Why haven’t KAMAZ, Tatneft and Kazan Helicopters invested in Turkey yet?” Mr Erikan was surprised.

He added that in 2019 commodity turnover between Turkey and Russia was about $27 billion. And he expressed confidence that there was expected a significant rise in 2020. Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin set a task of reaching the turnover of $100 billion, and both countries have the potential for it. In Erikan’s opinion, however, every region of Russia should make its contribution to achieving these common goals.

Flight to connect Kazan with Antalya again

The consul general invited Director of the Kazan office of Turkish Airlines Fırat Kiriş to the meeting with the journalists. The diplomat noted that the airline operated flights from Ufa, Kazan and Samara to different destinations. For instance, Turk Hava Yollari’s Boeings have been flying from the capital of Tatarstan for 13 years: daily in summer and 5 times a week in winter.

“He will gladden you with other news by summer,” Erikan intrigued everybody.

Kiriş refused to make an announcement in front of everybody. However, he explained to Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent what “good news” it was. Citizens of Kazan will be able to fly directly to the most popular resort in Turkey.

“We used to have flights from Kazan to Antalya every summer. We are planning to launch this regular flight by the summer of 2020. Now we are waiting for permission for it. Hopefully, we will do it,” Fırat Kiriş shared.

Forecasts for 2020

“We finish 2019 successfully. Hopefully, 2020 will be better. There will be mutual visits. Cultural events are activated,” İsmet Erikan concluded.

So in March 2020, Manezh exhibition hall in Kazan will host an exhibition of Ottoman-era kaftans. An exhibition of works of contemporary artists is planned to be held in the same hall.

Erikan reminded that not only the 1,000th anniversary of the TASSR but also the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Turkey would be celebrated in 2020. In this respect, a music group will arrive in Tatarstan.

“You will enjoy this music,” he promised.

The consul general also expressed a desire to revive the exchange of experience between the mass media of Tatarstan and Turkey, particularly between Anadolu agency and the local media, hold an exhibition of Tatarstan photo artists’ work in Turkish cities. Another dream is to invite famous Turkish scientist İlber Ortaylı who is Tatar by origin to Kazan in 2020. This outstanding historian whom the diplomat named “prickly but very interesting” could give his unusual lectures to the local audience.

By Timur Rakhmatullin