ANKARA, March 25. /TASS/. The Turkish authorities will not be able to join the sanctions against Russia, as they cannot let their citizens freeze without Russian gas, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Turkish reporters on a return flight from the NATO summit.
"In terms of sanctions, we are studying certain UN guidelines, but let's not forget that we cannot put aside our relations with Russia. You know, I explained this a long time ago, because today, if we take natural gas alone, about half of the natural gas we use comes from Russia. Besides that, we are building our Akkuyu nuclear power plant with Russia. We can’t ignore that. When I told this to [French President Emmanuel] Macron, even he said that I am right. We have to protect this sensitivity, Firstly, I cannot leave my people to freeze in the winter, and secondly, I cannot completely reboot this industry of ours," Erdogan said as quoted by the Hurriyet newspaper on Friday.
Erdogan reiterated that the republic's authorities "should protect their citizens." "We have a country with a population of 85 million people. We have all kinds of obligations. Besides that, we have sent 56 trucks with humanitarian aid to Ukrainians. We supply them with food, clothes, medicines. Deliveries will increase," he added.
Ankara repeatedly stated that Turkey does not intend to join the sanctions against Russia, so as not to damage its own economy and leave an open channel of dialogue with the Russian Federation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine, stressing that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories. Western countries responded to the actions of the Russian authorities by slapping sanctions against physical and legal entities.