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Cavusoglu: Relations With Russia No Alternative to EU

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlult Cavushoglu has stated that the ties between Turkey and Russia should not be compared to Ankara’s relations with the West, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.

“Our relationship with Russia is not an alternative to our relations with Lithuania or to the European Union or our relations with the United States. … Turkey can balance its foreign policy in this region perfectly,” Cavusoglu said at a joint press conference with his Lithuanian counterpart Linas Linkevicius in Vilnius.

Indicating that Turkey will continue to work with Russia on the issues of Syria, Cavusoglu said that Sochi and Astana processes worked quite well.

Underlining that the U.S. sanctions against Russia are unilateral and there are no sanctions imposed by the U.N., Cavusoglu continued:

“Why do we have to join the sanctions imposed against a country? Did they make their decisions after discussing it with us? As a sovereign country, why do we have to join the sanctions? Why did not we join the sanctions imposed against Iran? Because it was not fair, but also a unilateral decision of one country.”

He added that Turkey is “not a province of the United States” and makes independent decisions.

“It is an independent country, we do not have to participate in every unjust decision of this country towards another one, and in principle, we are against sanctions,” Cavusoglu said.

The foreign minister mentioned that the Ukrainian government asked Turkey to be a mediator in its ties with Russia. “We have good relations with both sides. You cannot agree with a country on one issue, but you can continue talking about something else…If you suspend the relations because of one specific problem or stop diplomacy, you may end up with no ties with any country,” he added.

Cavusoglu underscored, however, that Ankara “won’t recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea.”

The foreign minister’s comments came after Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said during a press conference with his French counterpart in Paris that Turkey wants to take its relations with the European Union to a new level at a time when its trade with the bloc is more important than ever.

The French minister encouraged Turkey to use all available economic policy tools to ensure sustainable growth.

“It is in everyone’s interest, in France, in Turkey, in Europe, that the situation stabilizes in Turkey,” Bruno Le Maire told reporters in the wake of a significant hit to the Turkish lira that transpired amid strained ties between Turkey and the U.S. over the trial of an American evangelical pastor.

According to Le Maire, Albayrak had stressed his country’s commitment to structural reforms.

During the press conference, the Turkish finance minister slammed the U.S. recent steps against Turkey.

“Such decisions will negatively affect regional stability and increase both regional terror and the refugee crisis,” Albayrak said, adding that Turkey and France had decided to act together on these issues.

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