Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists Friday they share the common goal of reestablishing peace in Syria. The Syrian regime has the primary responsibility in the deaths of over 110,000 people in the two and a healf years of civil war, said Erdogan, who is in St. Petersburg on an official visit. "Nuclear or conventional, every act that results in killing is a crime," Erdogan said, stressing the share of conventional warfare in the destruction of the Middle East nation. "There is no time to lose. All the time that we waste buys time for the regime," he said. Erdogan said millions of people have been displaced due to the civil war, over two million fleeing to neighboring countries, including Turkey, which hosts 600,000 Syrians. “These people apparently did not escape to our country for no reason,” he said. “They are escaping from death.” Turkey and Russia differ in who they hold accountable for the devastating civil war in Syria. Turkey openly supports the opposition, while Russia is a major ally of Bashar al-Assad's government. Turkish Premier said his government supported the meeting of an international conference, dubbed Geneva 2, for a political solution in Syria, but warned that no fruitful outcome came out of the first one held last year in July. Russian President Putin said his country supported Geneva 2, but added that efforts continued to convince the Syrian opposition to participate. "We have proposed a meeting of opposition representatives in Moscow," he said. "We carry on working to this end, and it is our wish to see the conference held as soon as possible."
"Peace in Syria is our common goal," Putin said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and Russian President Putin stressed energy and economic relations, and announced a common goal to reach 100 billion dollars in trade volume, which now sits at nearly a third of this figure.
"Russia is our number one energy partner," said Erdogan, who leads a Turkish government that exports most of its natural gas needs from Russia, and is working on its first nuclear power plant project with the country.
Erdogan called on Putin to support Turkey in its efforts to enhance ties with Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a Eurasian economic group which Turkey engages as a dialogue partner.
Turkey was not invited to the organization's latest summit in Bishkek in September.