Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Thursday praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s leadership ahead of key elections in the NATO country, Agence France-Presse reported.
Erdoğan, 69, suspended all campaigning for Turkey’s pivotal May 14 election after getting sick while speaking during a live TV interview on Tuesday.
Putin spoke virtually at the launch of a Russian-built nuclear plant in Turkey, using the opportunity to heap praise on Erdoğan, saying Moscow was ready to “extend the hand of friendship.”
The Russian leader said the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, Turkey’s first, was a “convincing example of how much you, Mr. President Erdoğan, are doing for your country, for the growth of its economy, for all Turkish citizens.”
“I want to say it straight: You know how to set ambitious goals and are confidently moving towards their implementation,” Putin added.
He stressed that Russia was one of the first countries to send rescue teams and medical personnel to Turkey in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes in February.
“We are always ready to extend the hand of friendship to our Turkish partners,” Putin added.
Putin, who has sought to strengthen ties with Erdoğan amid a deepening confrontation with the West, said the Turkish leader had done a lot for bilateral ties.
“The president personally pays great attention to the expansion of Russian-Turkish relations,” he said.
“We certainly support this inclination and are convinced that close cooperation and partnership between Russia and Turkey are mutually beneficial.”
He also hailed the opening of the nuclear plant, describing it as a “flagship” project that would cement relations.
“This is a flagship project, and it brings both mutual economic benefit and, of course, helps to strengthen the multifaceted partnership between our two states.”