“Our relations with Turkey are excellent,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Belarusian state television at the weekend, Turkey’s state-sun Anadolu news agency reported.
Erdoğan is a great and strong political leader, Peskov said.
Turkey has developed close relations with Russia in recent years. While Turkey’s foreign ministry has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an infringement of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, Ankara has refused to follow Western powers in sanctioning Russia. Erdoğan’s government has also welcomed Russian oligarchs to the country.
Russia and Turkey have different views on relations and at some points, the sides do not fully understand each other, but the relationship based on mutual interests is dominant, Peskov said.
The two countries are developing big economic projects and Turkey not participating in sanctioning Russia over the Ukraine war, “carries a severe economic importance,” that Ankara and Moscow continue to dialogue, according to Peskov.
“This is very valuable. We attribute a lot of value to it,” he said.
“We are pleased that Erdoğan has found the strength to defend and follow his interests, the interests of his country, and is not in the mainstream (like Europe),” Peskov said.
Turkey has always been a sufficiently large regional power, according to Peskov, and “has the luxury of defending its interests.”
Russia supplies the largest number of visitors to Turkey’s tourism industry, which Erdoğan is relying on this year to help steady the lira, which lost 44 percent of its value in 2021. Turkey is also seeking to keep relations with Russia on an even keel to help maintain its military presence in Syria, where it is backing opposition groups and fighting Kurdish militants.