Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov praised Russia’s relations with Turkiye on Saturday, emphasizing that Ankara is a significant regional power and the most dominant among all NATO member states.
Peskov, in an interview with the Belarusian state television, touched on relations with Turkiye as part of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine to be held in northwestern Istanbul province.
He pointed out that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a great and strong political leader and said: “Turkiye is a very significant regional power and country. Our relations with Turkiye are excellent."
He noted that there are different views on relations between the two countries and at some points the sides do not fully understand each other.
"But the relationship based on mutual interests is dominant, so the two countries are developing big economic projects."
"Turkiye has always been a sufficiently large regional power, and Turkiye has been a member of NATO for many years,” he said. “However, despite this, it became the most dominant state among the NATO member sovereign states, especially during the presidency of Erdogan. And this country is a country that has the luxury of defending its interests.”
Citing that Turkish authorities told NATO and the US that Ankara was not interested in participating in sanctions against Russia, Peskov said it also carries severe economic importance that Turkiye and Russia continue to dialogue.
"This is very valuable. We attribute a lot of value to it,” he said.
Referring to cooperation between Turkiye and Russia in tourism and energy have improved, he noted: "We have a good perspective with Turkiye.”
“We are pleased that Erdogan has found the strength to defend and follow his interests, the interests of his country, and is not in the mainstream (like Europe).
“As you know, now all Europeans are in the mainstream, but on their own account,” he said.
“They spend, Washington makes money. Because of its anger at Russia, Europe is shooting itself in the foot,” he said.
The Russian war against Ukraine, which started Feb. 24, has been met with international outrage, with the EU, US, and Britain, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.
At least 1,325 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 2,017 injured, according to UN estimates, with the true figure feared to be far higher.
More than 4.1 million Ukrainians have also fled to other countries, with millions more internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency.