Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday said the West was being provocative toward Russia.
In a press conference alongside his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade, Erdoğan said: “I can clearly say that I do not find the attitude of the West [toward Russia] right,” adding that there was a “policy based on provocation.”
Erdoğan also said he doesn’t think the war in Ukraine will end “anytime soon,” and urged countries not to “underestimate Russia.” His remarks came during a visit to Serbia, as part of a three-nation Balkan tour this week.
To date, Ankara has tried to present itself as a neutral party in the Russia-Ukraine war. It has hosted talks with officials from Moscow and Kyiv at the highest level and mediated a grain deal alongside the U.N. to assure safe food exports out of blockaded ports from Ukraine.
Turkey has however maintained strong ties with Russia since the invasion. Ankara has increased its trade with Russia, Turkish banks have adopted a Russian payments system and Turkey has reportedly doubled its imports of Russian oil this year.