The West follows a policy based on provocation towards Russia
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stresses that Russia is not a country that can be underestimated, reiterating Ankara’s balanced policy towards Moscow and Kyiv.
The West pursues a “provocative policy” towards Russia, but Moscow should not be underestimated, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
“I can clearly say that I don’t find the attitude of the West (towards Russia) fair. Because there is a West that follows a policy based on provocation,” Erdogan told a conference press conference with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade on Wednesday.
Since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine in February, Türkiye has stressed that it has followed a “balanced” policy which has borne fruit, such as the historic agreement negotiated by Ankara in Istanbul last July unblocking grain exports from Ukraine. .
In the Serbian capital, Erdogan added that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict does not appear to be ending “anytime soon”.
“I say to those who underestimate Russia, you are wrong. Russia is not a country that can be underestimated,” he said.
The Turkish president also reiterated Ankara’s balanced policy between Russia and Ukraine to help resolve the crisis.
Turkey’s policy of keeping diplomatic lines open with Russia has also led Turkey to host the highest-level meetings of Moscow and Kyiv officials since the conflict began.
Erdogan: Türkiye can play a facilitating role on the Ukrainian nuclear power plant
LIVE: Turkish President Erdogan and his Serbian counterpart Vucic hold a presser after the ceremony of mutual agreements https://t.co/O8qI1F3RCo
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Traveling without a passport
During Erdogan’s visit – the second leg of a three-nation Balkan tour – Turkey and Serbia signed seven agreements in areas including economy, industry and technology, including a protocol allowing mutual passport-free travel for nationals of both sides.
Erdogan hailed the deal which allows citizens of both countries to travel with only national identity cards, predicting it would take the “excellent” bilateral relationship to the next level.
“After the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova, Serbia will be the sixth country where it will be possible to travel reciprocally using smart ID cards”, a- he declared.
He said Turkey and Serbia reached a bilateral trade volume of $2 billion in 2021, adding, “I believe we will continue to work with the same determination to reach our common goal of $5 billion.” .
On the recent tension between Serbia and Kosovo, Erdogan said: “We are very happy that Serbia and Kosovo have reached an agreement on border crossings using identity documents.”
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, with most UN member states including the US, UK, France, Germany and Turkey recognizing it as a separate autonomous country of his neighbour. Serbia continues to consider Kosovo as its territory.
This summer, Kosovo narrowly avoided a crisis over license plates and identity cards to bear Kosovo markings, until a compromise is found.
Calling for dialogue between the parties to resolve the issues, Erdogan said the positive momentum in the Balkans should continue as the Balkans “cannot tolerate such unrest any longer”.
READ MORE: Erdogan: Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina agree to travel without a passport
Vucic thanks Erdogan
Vucic, for his part, hailed Turkish investments in Serbia, saying that the two countries aim to increase the volume of bilateral trade.
He added that Serbia is interested in buying Bayraktar drones, the acclaimed Turkish-made drones considered essential in conflicts ranging from Karabakh to Ukraine.
Thanking President Erdogan for his “candor” and the importance he attaches to the region, Vucic said: “We show respect and interest in Turkey, make you feel at home here. I recommend everyone to go to Türkiye, I think everyone should see what this great country has achieved under Erdogan’s leadership.
Vucic added: “Turkey’s constructive role in maintaining stability in the region is very important.”
Source: TRTWorld and agencies