Turkey has not received an official offer to join the Customs Union, which comprises Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, Turkish media reported on October 26 citing sources in the Foreign Ministry. According to the report, a year ago Ankara was invited to join the Customs Union and the organization held negotiations with Turkey in this regard. However, currently the talks have lost their relevance.
The Customs Union was established in 2010. The purpose of the organization is to form a single customs territory within which no customs duties or economic restrictions are applied. The single economic space of the Customs Union started operating on January 1, 2012.
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev offered admitting Turkey to the organization during a session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council held on October 24.
Earlier, a senior official of Russia's Public Chamber said that if Azerbaijan joined the Customs Union this would most likely be done jointly with Turkey.
Sergey Markov, deputy chairman of the working group on international cooperation and public diplomacy of the Russian chamber, told journalists that the focus of Azerbaijan's economy on energy does not require its involvement in the Customs Union. However, it would be extremely beneficial for Turkey with its strong manufacturing economy -- including the development of the light industry, agriculture and other sectors -- to participate in such a union, he said.
The Customs Union member countries welcome the joining of new partners to the organization and have backed the intentions of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan in this respect.