Turkish leader Erdogan visits mostly-Muslim Serbia region

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received a rousing welcome as he visited a predominantly-Muslim region in southwestern Serbia.

Hundreds of people waving Turkish and Serbian flags lined the streets of Novi Pazar, where Erdogan arrived Wednesday with Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic.

Erdogan is on a two-day visit to Serbia, pledging to boost economic and other ties as part of stepped up efforts by Ankara to increase its clout in the Balkans.

Relations between Serbia and Turkey have improved in recent years after decades of mistrust between the two nations. Serbia was ruled for almost 500 years by the Ottoman Empire.

Turkey backed Bosnian Muslims in the 1990s war that pitted them against the Christian Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats.