Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov praised Russia’s relations with Turkey on Saturday, stressing that Ankara is a significant regional power and the most dominant of all NATO member states.
Peskov, in an interview with Belarusian state television, alluded to relations with Turkey as part of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine to be held in the northwestern province of Istanbul.
He pointed out that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a great and powerful political leader and said: “Turkey is a very significant regional power and country. Our relations with Turkey are very good.”
He noted that there were differing views on the relationship between the two countries, and at some points the parties did not fully understand each other.
“But the relationship based on common interests is more dominant, so the two countries are developing big economic projects.”
“Turkey has always been a fairly large regional power, and Turkey has been a member of NATO for many years,” he said. “But despite this, it became the most dominant state among sovereign NATO members, especially during Erdogan’s presidency. And this country is a country that has the luxury of defending its interests.”
Referring to the fact that Turkish authorities have told NATO and the United States that Ankara is not interested in participating in sanctions against Russia, Peskov said that it is also economically important that Turkey and Russia continue dialogue.
“This is very valuable. We put a lot of value on it,” he said.
Referring to the increased cooperation between Turkey and Russia in tourism and energy, he noted: “We have a good perspective with Turkey.”
“We are pleased that Erdogan has found the strength to defend and pursue his interests, the interests of his country, and not in the mainstream (like Europe).
“As you know, now all Europeans are in the mainstream, but at their own expense,” he said.
“They spend, Washington makes money. Because of its anger at Russia, Europe is shooting itself,” he said.
Russia’s war against Ukraine, which began on February 24, has generated international outrage, with the European Union, United States and Britain, among others, imposing tough economic sanctions on Moscow.
At least 1,325 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 2,017 injured, according to UN estimates, with the real number feared to be much higher.
More than 4.1 million Ukrainians have also fled to other countries, with several million displaced, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
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