Putin meets with Fidan and expresses full support for Turkey’s aspirations in BRICS

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On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, met with Hakan Fidan, the Turkish Foreign Minister. This was the first meeting between them since Fidan took up his position in June. During the meeting, Putin reiterated Russia’s support for Turkey’s inclusion in the BRICS bloc.

The meeting took place on the sidelines of a BRICS+ foreign ministers’ meeting in western Russia. Speaking ahead of the meeting, Putin expressed his support for closer ties between Turkey and the BRICS bloc led by China. “We welcome Turkey’s interest in the work of BRICS,” Putin told Fidan during the closed-door meeting. “Undoubtedly, we will fully support this aspiration and desire to be together with the countries of this union, to be closer,” he added.

This was Fidan’s second visit to Russia as the country’s top diplomat. His first trip to Turkey’s Black Sea neighbor took place in August last year. During his two-day visit, the Turkish official also met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and the head of the Russian Federal Security Service, Sergei Naryshkin. Fidan’s meeting with Putin comes just a week after Putin indirectly criticized Turkey for its deepening ties with Western financial institutions.

According to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, Putin said, “Turkey has focused on obtaining loans, making investments, and receiving grants from Western financial institutions. This is probably not a bad thing.””But if it is related to the restriction of trade and economic relations with Russia, then the Turkish economy will lose more than it gains. I think there is such a threat,”he added. As Fidan was holding talks with the Russian officials, President Ajay Banga of the World Bank was in Ankara meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek. Simsek and Banga discussed the”Country Cooperation Framework Program”between Turkey and the World Bank. Banga’s first visit to Turkey came after the financial institution doubled its exposure to Turkey to $35 billion as part of the program. Ankara has been under Western scrutiny due to accusations that Russia was using Turkey to circumvent international sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

The US Treasury has imposed sanctions on dozens of Turkey-based companies since the start of the war. However, US Ambassador to Ankara Jeff Flake said last month that the United States was”getting better results working”with Turkish authorities to clamp down on Russia using Turkey to bypass sanctions. The country imports more than 44% of its natural gas from Russia. However, amid increasing pressure from the West, particularly the United States, the imports have declined.

Between January and April, Russia’s exports to Turkey stood at $15 billion. This is a large sum, but it is $2 billion less than the corresponding period of the previous year. Speaking on Tuesday, Putin acknowledged the decline but said,”We attribute this primarily to the adjustment in prices for our main export and import goods. I hope that we will be able to correct this situation in the near future.”Turkey, which has been pursuing a balancing act between its NATO allies and Moscow, hasn’t joined Western sanctions against Russia but has blocked Russian warships from accessing the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits linking the Aegean and Black Seas. It also supplies ammunition and drones to Ukraine. Speaking last week, Putin also criticized Kyiv, claiming that the Ukrainian armed forces were using Turkish drones to hit undersea pipelines in the Black Sea supplying natural gas to Turkey.”Ukraine tries to hit the pipelines carrying gas to [Turkey]. This is not a joke or an exaggeration in any way,”the Russian leader said.”Please inform our friend President Erdogan about the facts regarding this matter,” he added.

Turkish officials earlier this year announced that Putin was going to travel to Turkey in February. However, the visit, which was never confirmed by the Russian side, didn’t take place. Putin said on Tuesday that he was expecting to meet with Erdogan in person on July 3-4 in the Kazakh capital of Astana on the sidelines of an international event.

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