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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin and Turkish Premier Sign Declaration on Terrorism




Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Bulent Ecevit signed a joint declaration on terrorism at talks Friday, but mainly steered clear of an uncomfortable direct discussion on Chechnya.


The two sides also said progress was made in a deal on supplying Russian natural gas to Turkey, although they did not sign a new protocol on the project.


The two prime ministers mainly dodged the issue of Chechnya, where Russia is fighting Islamic guerrillas, but Putin said the two sides signed a declaration condemning terrorism in general.


"We are counting on the support of the international community and from Moslem countries," Putin said in remarks reported byInterfax.


Many Turks are sympathetic to the cause of Chechen independence, but Ecevit told a Russian newspaper before his arrival that although he would like to see a political solution to the crisis, the matter was Russia's internal affair.


Putin said it was not a major setback that a protocol on the Blue Stream pipeline, a major project to pump Russian natural gas to Turkey, was not signed during Ecevit's visit.


"We have agreed that as soon as these documents pass the agreed upon official procedures, they will be signed."


Blue Stream, which would pump gas across the Black Sea, is competing with U.S.-backed plans to pipe gas from Turkmenistan or Azerbaijan to meet an expected increase in Turkish demand.