ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked allies for mutual respect in the midst of a diplomatic spat with the United States and a strengthening of relations with Russia.
“We respect those we have strategic partnership with, as long as they respect our laws,” Erdogan said without naming any countries on Sunday, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.
The Turkish leader was speaking at a youth event organized by his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul.
“Where there is agitation, where there is harassment targeting us, we can strike one night suddenly,” he added.
Turkey has seen its advances into Syria overshadowed and trumped by Russia and the United States backing Kurdish fighters against ISIS on each of its flanks.
Relations between Ankara and Washington soured recently with Erdogan upset at US authorities issuing arrest warrants for 13 members of his security detail who were alleged to have participated in assaults against protesters outside of the Turkish embassy during his visit to Washington this spring.
Ankara has also not been satisfied with US support for the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG) against ISIS in Syria. The ruling AKP also criticizes the United States for not extraditing Islamic preacher Fetullah Gulen, who Ankara blames for orchestrating last year’s failed military coup.
Turkey and the United States have taken reciprocal measures against each other, restricting issuing visas after Turkey arrested a Turkish national employed at the US consulate in Istanbul on allegations of ties to the Gulen Movement.
The US State Department has described relations with Turkey as “complicated.”
Turkey and Iran have expressed closer cooperation following the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum and Baghdad’s federal re-control of the disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both the Iraqi central government and Erbil.
Russia’s energy firm Rosneft has announced further oil deals with the Kurdistan Region, which relies on its connection to Turkey’s Ceyhan pipeline to deliver oil and gas to world markets. Trade imports and exports between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region are also major revenue sources for each nation.
Russia and Turkey reached an agreement in late September to restore trade and economic relations. Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on Saturday by telephone.
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