Turkey cannot abandon Russian gas and sever ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"As for the war between Russia and Ukraine, then, of course, we are now pursuing a balanced policy towards both Russia and Ukraine. And in this policy of balance, of course, I do not intend to sever ties with Mr. Putin, or Mr. Zelensky," he said.
Erdogan noted that he continues telephone talks with the presidents of both countries.
"Turkey will continue this work, because the beginning of a new world war will not benefit either our region or the whole world. However, we have ties with both sides. With Russia, we have a project in the nuclear power industry, the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. Hopefully within the next year we will complete and open it. Again, where do we get the 50% of the natural gas we use now? We get supplies from Russia. For us, this is a strategically important relationship. And we cannot break these relations," the Turkish president said.
At the same time, he noted that turkey has many joint projects with Ukraine and said that Turkey intends to maintain these ties.
Last time Erdogan spoke with Putin was on April 26. Then the Turkish President repeated the proposal to organize a meeting between Putin and Zelensky in Istanbul.