The West is following a "provocation-based policy" towards Russia, but Moscow should not be underestimated, Türkiye’s president said on Wednesday.
"I can clearly say that I do not find the attitude of the West (towards Russia) right. Because there is a West that follows a policy based on provocation," Erdogan said at a news conference with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in the capital Belgrade.
Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine this February, Türkiye has stressed it is following a “balanced” policy that has yielded dividends, such as the historic deal in Istanbul this July unblocking grain exports from Ukraine.
Erdogan added that it does not seem the Russia-Ukraine war will end "anytime soon," adding: "I say to those who underestimate Russia, you are doing it wrong. Russia is not a country that can be underestimated."
The Turkish president also reiterated Ankara’s balanced policy between Russia and Ukraine to help solve the crisis.
The Turkish policy of keeping lines of diplomacy open with Russia has also resulted in Türkiye hosting the highest-level meetings of officials from Moscow and Kyiv since the war begin.
During Erdogan’s visit – the second stop on a three-nation Balkan tour – Türkiye and Serbia signed seven agreements in such areas as the economy, industry, and technology, including a protocol allowing mutual passport-free travel for nationals on both sides.