Russia’s ‘most reliable’ energy partner is Turkey: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Turkey was their most reliable energy trade partner after European countries boycotted Russian gas to inflict economic harm on the country. “The European powers set out an irreversible path,” opined the president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 18 said that Turkey has been their most reliable energy partner amid the European gas boycott following the invasion of Ukraine, in an interview on the Rossiya-1 network.

Putin claimed that European governments inadvertently harmed their economies while boycotting Russian natural gas, according to reporting by the Anadolu Agency (AA).

“They have entered an irreversible path,” as the manufacturing industry was switching over to countries with cheaper energy sources, commented the president.

Putin also objected to claims that Moscow limited energy shipment to Europe and said that their sustained relationship with Turkey disproved the claims. “See, we send natural gas through the TurkStream pipeline,” said the president.

Putin stated that Russia preferred clients other than European states for their energy exports, and added they could “make do” without Europe.

Putin also commented on the Russo-Ukrainian War. Russia began a “special military operation” because Ukraine violated the Minsk Agreements, claimed the president.

Turkey has sought to maintain good ties with both Ukraine and Russia since Moscow’s full-scale invasion. It has provided military support to Kyiv and voiced support for its territorial integrity, but also opposes sanctions on Russia.

Turkey has close economic ties with Russia, particularly in tourism, gas supplies, grain, and other agricultural trade, which makes Western countries uneasy. However, the two have also been at loggerheads over conflicts in Syria and Libya, where they back opposing sides, as well as over tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the South Caucasus.

Putin’s expected Turkey visit was postponed to late April or early May, according to Russian and Turkish sources.

After the official visit was delayed, member of the Russian Parliament’s International Relations Committee Dimitri Belik stated that the factory would become a “legitimate target” of Moscow.

The Turkish private defense company Baykar has announced that their drone factory being built in Ukraine would start production within a year.