Putin Meets Erdogan for Closed-Door Talks

Putin Meets Erdogan for Closed-Door TalksPutin Meets Erdogan for Closed-Door Talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday met Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks expected to touch on energy issues and the Syria crisis.

The two leaders met a day after attending the opening ceremony of the inaugural European Games, hosted by Azerbaijan.

Speaking ahead of their closed-door talks, Erdogan, a close ally of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, remarked to Putin on the absence of EU leaders from the Games in Baku.

"It's called the European Games but there aren't actually any leaders of EU member states here," Erdogan was quoted as saying by Turkish news agencies, AFP reported.

"Turkey, a candidate for EU entry, represented the whole European Union," Putin said in televised comments before the pair reportedly held a 90-minute meeting.

Ahead of what he said would be "very substantive talks," Putin's spokesman said that the leaders could discuss the Turkish Stream pipeline to supply Russian gas to Turkey, whose construction is set to begin at the end of this month.

The leaders were also set to discuss the situation in Syria, Dmitry Peskov said.

Putin was accompanied by Energy Minister Alexander Novak, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, nuclear energy agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko and the chief of Gazprom state energy giant Alexei Miller, the Kremlin website said.

On the Turkish side, the delegation included Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Energy Minister Taner Yildiz. The two leaders last met in December, when Putin made a one-day state visit to Turkey.

Following the Erdogan talks, Putin then met with Azerbaijan's Aliyev at his residence, congratulating him on the spectacle of the games' opening.

The leaders also confirmed their readiness to bring bilateral trade turnover between Russia and Turkey to $100 billion by 2020. In 2014, trade between the two countries exceeded $31 billion.

In December 2014, after opposition from the EU, Russia announced the scrapping of the South Stream gas pipeline project that would have bypassed the current routes via Ukraine. Moscow presented a new project, the Turkish Stream, a gas pipeline that will pass through Turkey.