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Putin voices support for Turkey’s desire to join BRICS during talks with Fidan

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Tuesday, has welcomed Turkey’s interest in the BRICS bloc of emerging economies, saying that he fully supports Turkey’s aspirations to join the organization, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“We welcome Turkey’s interest in the work of BRICS,” Putin told Fidan at the closed-door meeting. “Undoubtedly, we will fully support this aspiration and desire to be together with the countries of this union, to be closer,” he added.

Fidan was in Russia to attend the BRICS+ meeting of foreign ministers that kicked off in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod on Monday.

The meeting marked the first gathering since the group expanded from five members to nine in January with the addition of Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates as official members.

Another 15 countries, including Turkey, were also invited to the expanded format of the meeting.

During his two-day visit, Fidan also met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, Sergei Naryshkin.

Fidan, who paid a visit to Beijing earlier this month, said Turkey seeks to expand its economic ties and sees BRICS, a grouping of heavyweights as well as emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India and China to challenge the dominant US and European-led global governance structures, as a valuable alternative to the European Union for boosting economic prospects.

“Certainly, we would like to become a member of BRICS. So we’ll see how it goes this year,” Fidan said during an event at the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) in Beijing.

Turkey is currently in a customs union with the European Union but has been exploring new opportunities for cooperation with partners like BRICS. Despite efforts to join the EU dating back nearly four decades, Turkey has faced obstacles over issues ranging from human rights to foreign policy. Fidan said BRICS offers significant potential and could serve as a “good alternative” to the EU.

Meanwhile, Fidan’s meeting with Putin took place shortly after Putin warned the Turkish government that its close economic ties with the West against the interests of Russia could jeopardize its economic relations with Russia.

During a meeting with representatives from international news agencies last week, Putin pointed out the recent emphasis by the Turkish government on securing loans, investments and grants from Western institutions.

While acknowledging the potential benefits, he warned of the risks if these financial ties lead to restrictions on economic relations with Russia. “The losses for the Turkish economy will be greater than the gains,” he cautioned.

Putin was referring to efforts by Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek and the central bank to attract investment from the West as well as to secure loans and grants.

The US and its allies, which imposed sanctions on Russia due to its ongoing war on Ukraine, have pressured countries such as Turkey to restrict trade with Russia to stop its war machine.

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