Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday as a “strong leader” who always defended Türkiye’s interests.
Addressing international experts at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow, Putin called Erdoğan “a strong, firm leader who is guided by the interests of Türkiye, the Turkish people, and the Turkish economy.”
This includes Türkiye’s position in the energy sector, building the TurkStream gas pipeline and a gas hub, as well as in tourism and agriculture, the Russian leader said.
Putin said Erdoğan was not always an “easy partner” to deal with, but that Türkiye was always “reliable” and had a desire to reach agreements.
Erdoğan never allows anyone to manipulate him or make decisions in the interest of third countries, he further said.
“He always protects interests (of Türkiye) in the dialogue with us. In this sense, Türkiye in general, and President Erdoğan in particular, are not easy partners.
“Many decisions are born in long and difficult discussions and negotiations. But there is a desire on both sides to reach these agreements. And we, as a rule, reach these agreements.
“In this sense, President Erdoğan is a consistent and reliable partner,” Putin said.
Erdoğan has played a vital role as a go-between for Kyiv and Moscow since the start of the conflict, brokering the Black Sea grain deal and assisting in a number of prisoner exchangers – the only diplomatic breakthroughs to date in the eight-month conflict.