Türkiye has always followed a policy of balance between Russia and Ukraine, and will continue to do so, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sept. 7, reports TurkicWorld with the reference of Hurriyet Daily News.
“I can clearly say that I do not find the attitude of the West to be correct. There is the West that follows a policy based on provocation,” Erdogan stated speaking at a joint press conference with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic.
The president also stressed that the West has been sending “scrap” weapons to Ukraine.
The Russia-Ukraine war doesn’t look like it will end in a very short time, he said and added, “I tell those who underestimate Russia. You are doing it wrong. Russia is not a country to be underestimated.”
Neither Russia nor Ukraine is the winner of this war, but there are many losers, he stated.
“Russia cut off natural gas, prices rose in Europe. Everyone is brooding on that. Why didn’t you think of this before?” the president said.
Erdogan was welcomed with an official ceremony in Serbia’s capital Belgrade, on the second leg of his three-nation Balkan tour.
Citizens of Türkiye and Serbia will be able to visit the two countries with their identity cards, after a deal made during his visit, according to Erdogan. “Our excellent relations are improving day by day. The protocol signed on travel with identity will take our relations to a new level,” he stated.
In 2022, some 300,000 tourists visited Türkiye from Serbia, and travelling with identity will increase this number, along with providing the businessmen to carry out their mutual travels much more easily, Erdogan said. Turkish contractors have signed a total of 50 projects worth $847 million in Serbia so far, he added.
The president also noted that they “hoped to take steps next year regarding the purchase of Bayraktar vehicles from Serbia.”
The trade volume between Türkiye and Serbia maintained its steady upward trend despite the pandemic and in 2021 the two countries approached the $2 billion level with an increase of over 33 percent, he said.
“I believe that we will continue to work with the same determination to reach our common goal of $5 billion,” Erdogan noted.
During President Erdogan’s visit, the parties signed seven memorandums of understanding between Türkiye and Serbia.
Elaborating on Serbia-Kosovo tension, the president said Türkiye is pleased that an agreement has been reached on border crossings with identity cards between Serbia and Kosovo.