Erdoğan Says He Trusts Russia and the West Equally

Tuesday, 19 September 2023

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that he trusts Russia as much as he does the West.

Explaining his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Erdoğan said, during an interview with American TV channel PBS in New York, he had failed to get Putin to restore the Black Sea Grain Initiative but that he had secured a commitment from Russia to send 1 million tonnes of grain to Africa.

"I have no reason not to trust them," Erdoğan said.

"To the extent the West is reliable, Russia is equally reliable. For the last 50 years, we have been waiting at the doorstep of the EU, and, at this moment in time, I trust Russia just as much as I trust the West," the Turkish president added.

Shortly before his visit to New York, Erdoğan had said that Ankara could "part ways" with the European Union if necessary. However, speaking at an event on Monday, the Turkish leader appeared to backtrack on his earlier comments.

"We see that a window of opportunity has opened for revitalising relations between Türkiye and the European Union in a critical period... We continue to emphasise the importance of revitalising the process of Türkiye’s accession to the EU," Erdogan said.

Last week, Türkiye criticised a European Parliament report that insisted on Ankara cooperating with the EU in imposing sanctions against Russia.

Earlier, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that he could not imagine Türkiye as a member of the European Union and called for a permanent end to the frozen accession negotiations.

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