- President Erdogan emphasized the vital nature of Turkey's unique relationship with Russia, while criticizing the West's stance towards the nation.
- Erdogan's distinct relationship with Putin has raised concerns among Western leaders due to Turkey's NATO membership.
- Erdogan's refusal to sanction Russia, despite Western calls, has resulted in substantial economic growth, further emphasizing his nationalist image in the upcoming election
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey proudly highlighted his nation's unique bond with Russia, led by Vladimir Putin, in a recent interview with CNN that aired this Friday. Erdogan affirmed the strength of his country, contrasting its stance to that of Western nations. He emphasized Turkey's unwillingness to sanction Russia as they have, underlining a distinct, positive relationship that binds the two nations together.
"Economic and political partnerships between Russia and Turkey are indispensable in every domain," Erdogan noted. The Turkish President acknowledged the crucial role he played in the successful execution of the U.N. and Turkey-sponsored Black Sea Grain Corridor Initiative. This important initiative facilitated the release of Ukraine's grain exports, which had been obstructed by Russia's invasion. Erdogan attributes this success to his unique rapport with Putin.
The Turkish President, however, was critical of the West, insisting on the need for a balanced approach towards Russia. He opined that the current stance adopted by the West is unbalanced, implying a misfortune for international diplomacy. Erdogan's close ties with Putin, despite Turkey being a NATO member, has caused trepidation among Western leaders and diplomats.
These remarks surfaced on the eve of the Turkish presidential runoff election, an intense and closely watched contest scheduled for May 28. In the first round, neither Erdogan nor his opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, secured over 50% of the votes, necessitating this second round. Erdogan, painting himself as a formidable nationalist leader pushing back against Western dominance, edged out Kilicdaroglu, who has committed to reinforcing Turkey's relations with NATO and the West.
Interestingly, Erdogan's diplomatic role has extended beyond Turkey's borders, aiding in the mediation between Ukraine and Russia since the onset of the war. He not only facilitated prisoner exchanges and extended aid to Ukraine, but also increased trade ties with Russia. His decision to spurn Western appeals to impose sanctions on Russia has seemingly benefited Turkey's economy; its trade with Russia skyrocketed in 2022.
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