Turkey refuses to join anti-Russia EU sanctions for economic reasons
Turkey does not want to join in EU sanctions against Russia, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Germany's Die Zeit magazine, as cited by Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency, Sputnik reported.
"We have no commitment to join EU sanctions," Cavusoglu stressed in an interview to be published on Thursday.
The minister explained that Moscow is an important trade partner. At the end of 2014, trade between Russia and Turkey for the year was estimated to be around $30 billion.
Turkey has capitalized on Russia's EU food ban, boosting its exports of fish and meat to record highs. Russia is now also buying Turkish milk and eggs.
"That is why we are not part of this sanctions push. We will take our own measures if needed," Cavusoglu added in a reference to the escalating crisis in Ukraine, which is largely blamed on Russia.
Cavusoglu urged other European countries to be "realistic" about whether they can do without Russian gas, adding that "every country must consider its own interests."
Russia and Turkey are building a natural gas pipeline that will bring an annual 63 billion metric tons of gas to southern Europe. The decision was announced last December after Moscow scrapped its plan for a South Stream pipeline across the Black Sea.