Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday accused the West of staging “provocations” against Russia that have forced it to cut energy supplies to Europe, Agence France-Presse reported.
Erdoğan has maintained good working relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin while trying to stay neutral in the conflict and supplying Ukraine with weapons and combat drones.
He told reporters on a visit to Belgrade that he understood Putin’s decision to cut off natural gas supplies to Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline.
“I can say very clearly that I do not find the attitude of the West — no need to mention names — to be correct, because it is a policy based on provocation,” Erdoğan said.
“As long as you try to wage such a war of provocation, you will not be able to get the needed result.”
Erdoğan has tried to use his open relations with both Moscow and Kyiv to try to arrange direct talks between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Turkey.
“As Turkey, we have always maintained a policy of balance between Ukraine and Russia. From now on, we will continue to follow that balanced policy,” he said.
Erdoğan is expected to meet with Putin at a regional summit in Uzbekistan next week.
Turkey has not joined the Western sanctions regime against Russia and signed a new economic cooperation agreement with Moscow during a meeting between Putin and Erdoğan in Sochi last month.