Turkey to benefit from EU-Russia row: Minister

Russia’s PM Vladimir Putin is seen visiting a grocery store in Moscow in this file photo. Moscow imposed a total ban on imports of several Western foods on Aug 7, as countries such as Turkey are seeking more share in the market.

The dispute between Russia and the Western world tends to create economic opportunities for Turkey, as the country is seeking a bigger role in Asian trade and to-build stronger economic ties The crisis that Russia is facing with the West may present Turkey new opportunities, according to Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci.

“Amid the deadlock between Russia, Ukraine, the European Union and the United States, we will carry our interests to the peak while [remaining] closer to Russia,” the minister said during a recent interview with a group of journalists. “We will gain advantages from that.”

The Russian embargo on U.S. and European goods was launched in retaliation against U.S. and European sanctions over Russia’s alleged role in eastern Ukraine separatist violence.

Russia is in talks with a number of countries such as Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan on issues like free trade or a customs union, Zeybekci said, adding that Turkey’s intention was not to join such a customs union but engage in “preferential trade.”

What happens in Russia will be a “big change” for the Turkic republics and Turkey, he said, adding that Turkey had not lost its position in free-trade deal talks between the EU and the U.S.

“Countries that account for 50 percent of world trade are reshaping the map of the economy. We cannot stay out of this in an environment that the changes so fast,” he said. “The developments in Iraq are making Turkey a compulsory [trade destination].”

The country is also a good spot for European capital, according to the minister.

“When Europe goes under a monetary expansion, there...

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