Washington briefing: Russia, Turkey tout friendly relations

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Thursday February 19, 2009

President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia shows President Abdullah Gül of Turkey the way to go in the Kremlin during a state visit, Feb. 13, 2009.

Washington - Turkey's President Abdullah Gül visited with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in the Kremlin on February 13, with the two presidents signing a joint declaration "on new stage of relations" and "deepening of friendship and wide-ranging cooperation," according to the Kremlin website. Mr. Gül made a four-day state visit to Russia between February 12 and 15.

The declaration, mirroring the document signed during then President Vladimir Putin's visit to Turkey in 2004, emphasized cooperation on energy and trade issues.

Russia is seeking to build four nuclear reactors in Turkey worth $20 billion and supply electricity to Turkey on a long-term basis, Russia's energy minister said the same day. Turkey already relies on Russia for natural-gas supplies, and overall bilateral trade topped $32 billion in 2008.

The document also briefly referred to the need to settle Caucasus conflicts. Last year, Turkey in effect backed Russia's military action against Georgia, although Ankara has declined to recognize Abkhazia or South Ossetia.

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