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Russia's Putin, Turkey's Erdogan Discuss Economic Issues in Moscow

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss trade, energy exports, and other issues. It was the second meeting between the two men in a month, something both say indicates improved relations between their countries.

Business and energy issues were the main items on the agenda as President Putin received Mr. Erdogan in the Kremlin on the second day of the Turkish premier's visit to Russia. Mr. Putin says that Russia will increase its exports of natural gas to Turkey, and Russian companies will also invest in new electricity generating projects there.

Mr. Erdogan says economic cooperation has steadily increased in recent years, with bilateral trade surpassing $10 billion last year.

Turkish firms have been extensively involved in Russian construction projects, especially in Moscow which has experienced a building boom over the past decade.

The Turkish leader arrived late on Monday accompanied by more than 500 people, mostly business leaders interested in expanding contacts with their Russian counterparts.

On Wednesday, Mr. Erdogan is to inaugurate a new Turkish Trade Center, the latest of many shopping mall complexes built in and around Moscow.

Textiles and clothing are among the many Turkish products widely sold in Russia.

At their meeting, both leaders noted the importance of strengthening ties between the two countries, which in the past have had an uneasy relationship.

Last month, Mr. Putin made a landmark visit to Ankara, when the two sought to overcome allegations of support for rebel groups, such as separatists fighting Russian troops in Chechnya.

Many Turks sympathize with the Muslim Chechens' attempt to form their own state independent of Russia.