Putin arrives in Turkey for security summit, bilateral talks
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Turkey on Tuesday to attend the third summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and hold bilateral talks with top officials from Turkey and other countries, RIA Novosti reported.
The CICA is an inter-governmental Asian security forum, which was established in 1992 and currently comprises 18 member states, including Russia, China, South Korea and Turkey.
The summit will most likely focus on the current crisis on the Korean peninsula, following the alleged sinking of a South Korean warship by a North Korean submarine.
The South Korean Navy vessel sunk on March 26 in the Yellow Sea near the disputed maritime border between the two Koreas. Forty-six sailors died.
An international investigation concluded two weeks ago that the South Korean Cheonan corvette was sunk by a torpedo fired from a North Korean submarine, but Pyongyang has denied any involvement in the sinking and the conclusions of the investigation.
A group of Russian Navy experts left Seoul on Monday after completing their assessment of the investigation that found North Korea was responsible for the sinking of the Cheonan. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accepted Seoul's offer to send specialists at the end of May.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti Monday that in Istanbul, Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also discuss bilateral cooperation.
Medvedev visited Turkey's capital Ankara on May 11-12. The Istanbul talks are seen as a continuation of the dialogue started at the level of the heads of states.
Russian-Turkish trade last year went down almost by 40% to $19.6 billion, but Turkey remains one of Russia's key economic partners, and the aggregate volume of Turkish direct investment in Russia exceeds $5 billion.
Besides, Moscow and Ankara have successfully cooperated in the energy sphere, including on the Blue Stream gas pipeline project, the South Stream gas pipeline, the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant near the Mediterranean port of Mersin in the Akkuyu area.
Putin will also meet with Turkish President Abdullah Gul. The top officials are to exchange opinions on urgent issues on the international and regional agenda.
The Russian government press service said the Russian premier will also meet with the Azerbaijani, Kazakh and Ukrainian presidents.