23 Sept 2023
In a recent interview with the U.S. broadcaster PBS, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed his strong ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Erdogan stated that Turkey would not participate in sanctions against Russia and emphasized that Moscow is keen on ending the Ukraine war.
"Mr. Putin wants to resolve this conflict as quickly as possible. That's what he says, and I believe him," Erdogan said during the interview.
Turkey and russia remain partners
When asked whether he trusts Putin, Erdogan was unequivocal and criticized the West. "I have no reason not to trust Putin. Russia is as trustworthy as the West.
I trust Russia as much as I trust the West," he said. Erdogan expressed his frustration over Turkey's decades-long exclusion from the European Union.
Turkey has been profiting from the ongoing conflict. On one hand, it sells military equipment like drones to Ukraine, and on the other, Turkish companies collaborate with Russia.
The U.S. recently imposed sanctions on four Turkish companies and one businessman due to this collaboration. Turkey is highly dependent on Russia, especially for its natural gas needs, and millions of tourists from Russia visit Turkey every year, bringing in much-needed foreign currency.
Meanwhile, relations between Turkey and the European Union continue to deteriorate. The European Parliament's latest report on Turkey criticized the country for human rights violations. Erdogan warned Brussels, saying,
"The EU is trying to distance itself from Turkey. We will make our assessments in light of these developments and may eventually separate from the European Union."