MOSCOW (Reuters): Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated his “dear friend” Tayyip Erdogan who claimed victory in Turkey’s presidential election on Sunday, saying the win was evidence the Turkish people appreciated Erdogan’s independent foreign policy.
“The election victory was a natural result of your selfless work as the head of the Republic of Turkey, clear evidence of the support of the Turkish people for your efforts to strengthen state sovereignty and conduct an independent foreign policy,” Putin said in a message to Erdogan, according to the Kremlin.
“We highly appreciate your personal contribution to the strengthening of friendly Russian-Turkish relations and mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas,” Putin said.
Putin said he attached great importance to joint projects such as Turkey’s Akkuyu nuclear power plant, which is being built by Russia’s state energy group Rosatom, and a gas hub which Putin has proposed in Turkey.
The veteran president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, Putin’s staunchest ally among ex-Soviet states, offered his congratulations, praising Erdogan for maintaining stability after earthquakes earlier this year.
“I consider you a worthy, strong political figure and a good friend of Belarus,” Lukashenko said in a statement issued by his press office.
“We have identical interests in de-escalating the international situation, upholding food security and peaceful resolution of disputes.”