President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says the West’s attitude towards Russia is not ‘fair’, adding that they are carrying out a ‘provocative policy’ towards Moscow amid the ongoing war and crisis energy in Europe.
“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,” Erdoğan told a conference joint press briefing with Serbian President Aleksander Vucic on Wednesday. after the European Union and G-7 countries proposed a Russian gas price cap.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously threatened to halt all supplies if the European Union took such a step, raising the risk of rationing in some of the world’s wealthiest countries this winter.
Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February, Türkiye has stressed that she has been following a “balanced” policy that has borne fruit, such as the historic agreement she brokered in Istanbul in July to unblock grain exports from Ukraine.
Erdoğan added that it does not look like the Russian-Ukrainian war will end “anytime soon”, adding: “I say to those who underestimate Russia, you are wrong. Russia is not a country that can be underestimated”.
The 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 start of the war.
Vucic said Serbia had asked Turkey to allow it to transfer electricity imports from Azerbaijan, which he estimated at around 2 gigawatt hours (GWH).
On August 22, Vucic and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev agreed on energy imports through Belgrade on unspecified terms. The Balkan country generates around 70% of its electricity needs from coal-fired power plants.
“I asked him (Erdoğan) to help us and to allocate space (…) for the transfer of Azerbaijani electricity,” he said.
Serbia is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas, but it wants to diversify its supplies and plans to start importing natural gas from Azerbaijan in 2023.
Vucic said the coming winter in Europe could be “very cold” due to an energy crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine. Although Belgrade condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it refused to impose sanctions on Moscow.
“If we really think of defeating Russia militarily (in Ukraine), then we will have to prepare not only for a cold winter but for a polar winter,” Vucic said.
Serbia also plans to buy Bayraktar armed drones from Türkiye from 2023, Vucic said, adding that it would invest hundreds of millions of euros in the deal. He did not elaborate further.