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.
Turks will go to polls on August 10 to choose their new president. If no candidate receives the required 51 percent of the votes in the first round, a run-off will be held Aug. 24.
The shadowy network gained 5.5 million euros and 2.3 million dollars from illegal border crossing operations in the last four months
An unknown group rescued the journalist who had been held for 10 months by the ISIL rebel group in Syria, before brining them to Turkey.
Izmir municipal mayoral candidate for People's Democratic Party is among those arrested in the western Turkish province.
The trial on the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007 resumed in a different court in Istanbul after the first closed under a new law.
Turkey's Prime Minister asked the Constitutional Court to ensure court rulings that remove social media content due to human rights violations are implemented.
HDP co-chairman Ertugrul Kurkcu said the deputies of both parties will be represented in parliament under the HDP soon.
Ahmet Davutoglu refuted Syrian President's claims that the war is turning in the regime's favor.
Kemerkoy and Yenikoy thermal power plants located in the south western province of Mugla are privatized for $2.6 billion.
Oil from Iraq's Kurdish region will flow to international markets via Turkey.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been particularly hostile against Turkey and other opposition groups in Syria.
"I don't have any political plan for the future under today's conditions," Gul told reporters in the western province of Kutahya, when asked about a presidential election in August
Turkey's foreign minister says the country is ready to help in any way it can to resolve the crisis in Ukraine and will support any initiatives.
Earlier this week, Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev was for his efforts in defending his people award the Medal of State, the highest award in Turkey, in a ceremony at the Turkish presidential palace in Ankara.
Turkish dailies on Friday are covering President Abdullah Gul telling business leaders to "not get demoralized" over Turkey's political environment, remarks by the country's transport minister over the possible pixelation of "malicious content" on Twitter and the ongoing travails of the embattled chairman of scandal-hit Istanbul football club, Fenerbahce.
Turkey will seek a discount in the price of gas it is buying from Russia during planned talks, Turkey's energy minister said