World Bulletin / News Desk
A gleaming skyscraper rises from the ultra-modern financial centre in the heart of Moscow, dwarfing cathedral cuppolas and bombastic Stalinist highrises, a symbol of how far Turkish business has come in the former Cold War rival.
The distinctive Turkish-built steel and glass towers of Naberezhnaya, the second tallest skyscraper in Russia, will serve as a powerful backdrop when President Vladimir Putin hosts visiting Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in the Kremlin on Wednesday to talk business, energy and regional power politics.
Projects by construction company Enka underscore Erdogan's signature mix of business and politics that has expanded NATO-member Turkey's presence in the Middle East, Africa and former Soviet Union, where Russia still jealously guards its interests.
"Turkey today is much more assertive and independent than it was 20 years ago. It wants to be not only a part of NATO and American-led alliances, but also an independent player in the whole area," said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the journal Russia in Global Affairs.
But Turkey's regional aspirations in areas where Moscow is sensitive to its waning influence have complicated an already intricate relationship in which cooperation in trade and energy politics is set off by conflicting regional foreign policies.
"Turkey and Russia resemble each other; they have the same claims. Psychologically, Putin and Erdogan understand each other quite well, but at the same time all their interests do not coincide. For example, we see that in the Middle East."
Almost a year after the death of Russian ally Muammar Gadaffi in Libya, Moscow and Ankara are at diplomatic loggerheads over the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Once photographed with Assad and his family at a vacation resort before anti-government uprisings demanding his departure, Erdogan has since turned his back on the former ally, calling for his removal and hosting Syrian rebel fighters on its soil.
Turkey's ire was raised last month when Syria, recipient of Russian air defence systems, downed a fighter jet that it claimed was in its airspace. The incident forced Ankara to call on the other member states of NATO for consultations over what it called an "act of aggression".
Putin however, fearing a replay of the Libyan scenario, has continued sending Assad arms and has protected him from harsher sanctions at the U.N. Security Council.
Moscow would be loath to see its last stronghold in the Middle East fall - especially one that hosts a small naval maintenance and repair facility, Russia's only naval base outside of the former Soviet Union.
Indicating that Erdogan may work to try to influence Putin's position over Syria, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters that new unilateral sanctions against Syria may be passed after Erdogan returns from Moscow.
"I can say assuredly that new horizons will open up on this subject (Syria) after our prime minister's visit to Russia and that new sanctions against Syria will come onto the agenda," Arinc told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Monday.
Russia, for its part, has made clear it has no plans to back sanctions against Assad. It has stressed it will not agree to negotiations that make his departure a precondition.
Russia and Turkey are also aware of their differences in the South Caucasus region where their respective loyalties to Armenia and Azerbaijan divide them in the frozen conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh.
War between ethnic Azeris and Armenians erupted in 1991 over the Azeri land Nagorno-Karabakh region, occupied by Armenia as the Soviet Union collapsed two decades ago.
Turkey closed its border with Armenia in a gesture of solidarity with ethnic kin in Azerbaijan during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Russia, on the other hand, maintains an army base in Armenia.
"In the Caucasus there is always a potential rivalry (between Russia and Turkey)," said Lukyanov.
Turkish construction firm Enka restored Moscow's White House in 1994 after then President Boris Yeltsin ordered tanks to fire at parliamentarians holed up in the building during a rebellion against his leadership.
Analysts say the construction projects Turkish firms receive are part of a complex tit-for-tat exchange between the two countries that has seen Turkey raise the amount of gas it buys from Russia to nearly half its total imports.
In 2008 Russia overtook Germany as Turkey's biggest trading partner, the lion's share of which has come from natural gas contracts.
Turkey hopes to use its geographic location between oil rich states on the Caspian and energy hungry Europe to boost its clout as an energy transit hub and has looked primarily to Russia and Azerbaijan to fill that role.
Ankara's dependency on Moscow has led some analysts to speculate that while the two countries have their differences, Erdogan may be going to make sure Putin understands the two countries are still by and large partners.
"It won't be suprising for Erdogan to knock on the Kremlin walls trying to persuade Putin (over Syria) and get no response," wrote columnist Sami Kohen in Milliyet newspaper.
"However, from the point of view of minimising the effect of the shadow Syria has cast across their relationship, it will be important and helpful to continue a sincere dialogue."
Turkey has approved Russia's plans to allow the almost $20 billion South Stream pipeline, which aims to supply southern Europe with 63 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year, to pass under its territorial waters.
Even with Turkey's permission to build the pipeline through its waters, Ankara may still use the line as a chip in negotiations over gaining enough gas for its own domestic supply.
Turkish president Abdullah Gul has signed a decree officially bringing an end to special courts in Turkey.
While Standard & Poor's lists Ukraine and Turkey as highly vulnerable to shifting capital outflows, S&P credit analyst Moritz Kraemer says Ukraine's situation is 'completely different' than Turkey's.
Turkey's energy market attractive as it heavily depends on energy imports but tries to increase energy production domestically.
The explosion occurred when the soldier stepped on a device buried in the ground in a remote area in Sirnak
Fourteen Orthodox Church patriarchs and archbishops gather for 3-day meeting on invitation of Istanbul's Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew.
Turkey's constitutional court ruled in favour of former military chief Ilker Basbug's appeal against his detention on a life sentence for plotting against the government, saying his right to freedom had been violated.
Defense and Aeronautical industry increased its exports by 18.3 percent in February 2014.
Turkey's statistics agency, Turkstat, says 2 million 747 thousand people were unemployed in Turkey in 2013, as the jobless rate rose by 9.7 percent compared to 2012.
Turkish dailies on Thursday dedicate their front pages mainly to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks on the 'parallel state', his response to allegations over his interference in judicial process, his reply to whether he will continue in politics as prime minister should the AK lift the three-term restriction on MPs, and the latest developments in Ukraine's Crimea crisis with Russia.
Revealing the details of his meeting with Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu last week in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, Jemilev said that Davutoglu promised that Turkey would get involved if the Crimean Tatars came under threat.
Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski was on an official visit to Turkey to discuss closer ties and celebrate the 600 year anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Turkey's Science Minister Fikri Isik said “Any internal structure in Turkey, referring to a 'parallel state', could not undertake large-scale illegal wiretapping without external support.”
Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines agree more flights, new destinations in codesharing deal.
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey is not against the freedom of media but it is against illegal attempts by certain media groups.
The revelation comes just a day after Russian warships also made their way through the Bosphorus on their way to Crimea, which lies on the other side of the Black Sea north of Turkey.
Turkish dailies on Wednesday cover Russia's decision to withdraw its troops back from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea; Russian troops' warning shots at Ukrainian soldiers, and its long-range missile test. They also cover Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's statements during his public address in a local election rally.