Moscow and Ankara have laid to rest lingering Cold War tensions by signing several bilateral accords. They agreed to co-operate more closely during an historic state visit to Turkey by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ranging from economics to military matters, the joint agreements mark a distinct thaw in relations between the two nations – traditional rivals in central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans.
Now, however, they are pledging to work together – not least in the fight against terrorism. Following talks with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Putin thanked his hosts for the moral and political support he said Turkey had offered Russia in this domain. This was high praise indeed, in the circumstances.
Despite booming economic links, Moscow has previously pointed an accusatory finger at Turkey, claiming it has turned a blind eye to the activities of Chechen militants on its territory.
Ankara, meanwhile, has accused Russia of backing Kurdish separatists. President Putin’s two-day trip to Turkey has taken place amid tight security. More than 3,000 police were mobilized and several suspected Chechen militants were rounded up shortly before his arrival.