BELGRADE (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday he did not think the West’s “provocative” policies towards Russia were correct, after the European Union and Group of Seven nations proposed a price cap on Russian gas.
President Vladimir Putin had earlier threatened to halt all supplies if the EU took such a step, raising the risk of rationing in some of the world’s richest countries this winter.
Erdogan was speaking at a news conference with the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade.
“No need to list the names but I can clearly say that I do not find the stance that the West is adopting is correct,” Erdogan said, speaking at a news conference in Belgrade
“Because there is a West that is leading a policy based on provocation, it will not be possible to achieve a result there,” he said, adding that other countries should not underestimate Russia.
Vucic said that Serbia had asked Turkey to allow it to transfer electricity imports from Azerbaijan he estimated at around 2 gigawatt hours (GWH).
On Aug. 22, Vucic and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliev agreed over energy imports by Belgrade on unspecified terms. The Balkan country generates around 70% of its electricity needs in coal-fired power plants.
“I have asked him (Erdogan) to help us and allocate space … for the transfer of Azeri electricity,” he said.
Serbia is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas, but it wants to diversify supplies and plans to start importing natural gas from Azerbaijan in 2023.
Vucic said the coming winter in Europe may prove to be “a very cold one” due to an energy crisis stemming from the war in Ukraine. Although Belgrade condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has refused to impose sanctions on Moscow.
“If one really thinks to defeat Russia militarily (in Ukraine), then we will have to prepare not only for a cold winter but a polar winter,” Vucic said.
Serbia also plans to buy Turkey’s Bayraktar armed drones from 2023, Vucic said, adding that it would invest hundreds of millions of euros in the deal. He did not elaborate.
(Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun and Aleksandar Vasovic in Belgrade; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Ali Kucukgocmen and Hugh Lawson)