Putin calls Erdogan strong leader and tough but reliable partner
Russian President Vladimir Putin considers Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan a strong leader and a difficult partner who is guided by the interests of his country and never lets anyone walk all over him, News.az reports citing TASS.
"He is a firm, strong leader who is guided primarily, and perhaps exclusively, by the interests of Turkey, the Turkish people and the interests of the Turkish economy. To a large extent, this explains his position on energy issues, on the construction of the TurkStream," Putin said at a plenary session of the Valdai Discussion Club.
He added that Erdogan "never lets anyone walk all over him or be guided by the interests of third countries."
"But he, of course, protects his interests in dialogues with us, first and foremost. In this sense, Turkey in general and President Erdogan in particular are not easy partners. Many decisions are born from long and difficult disputes and negotiations, but there is a desire on both sides to reach an agreement. And we, as a rule, reach these agreements," the Russian leader emphasized.
Nevertheless, he called Erdogan a consistent and reliable partner.
"Perhaps, this is the main point - he is a reliable partner <...>. We understand that if we have gone down a difficult path, it was difficult to agree, but we agreed on something, then you can be sure that it will be done. This is the most important thing - reliability and stability in these relations," Putin said.
When asked whether Erdogan is trying to walk all over him, the Russian President said that he did not think so.
"You can’t say that he is trying to walk all over you, he is simply fighting for the decision that, in the opinion of his government, his advisers, is optimal. We are fighting to ensure that the decisions made are optimal for us. As a rule, we find these solutions even on very sensitive issues," Putin said. As an example, he cited agreements on the situation in Syria, on security and economic issues, including infrastructure.
"We've been able to do all of this so far," he said.
Putin also noted that Russia and Turkey have many "coinciding trajectories and mutual interests," including in tourism, construction and agriculture.
"We have proposed now to create a gas hub in Turkey for European consumers. The Turkish side agreed, too, of course, primarily based on its own interests," the Russian President stressed.