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Erdoğan defends ties with Russia during talks with Putin

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday defended Ankara’s booming trade ties with Moscow, during his fourth meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in three months, Agence France-Presse reported.

The United States and the European Union are putting renewed pressure on Turkey to comply with sanctions they imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

But Erdoğan has refused, offering NATO member Turkey as a neutral venue for possible truce talks, and approving a range of agreements that have seen the value of exports to Russia more than double in recent months.

Meeting Putin at the start of a regional summit in Kazakhstan, Erdoğan mentioned Russia’s construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, which Ankara hopes to open next year.

Erdoğan also raised the idea of Russia building a second nuclear power plant in northern Turkey, while Putin proposed relying on Turkey more to transport Russian natural gas.

“While Turkey and Russia’s steps will disturb certain circles, they will make less developed countries happy,” Erdoğan said, referring to a deal he helped broker paving the way for Ukrainian grain deliveries across the Black Sea.

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