Erdogan praises their'special friendship' with PutinMay 19
The Turkish leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has stressed the importance of a balanced approach in working with Russia. The extension of the Black Sea grain deal was possible due to Turkey's "special relationship" with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who has spoken regularly with Putin since Russia's military operation in Ukraine began. The extension of the deal was a political win for Erdogan, who has positioned himself as a middleman and potential peacemaker between Moscow and Kiev. Erdogan has also won the largest share of the vote in last week's election in Turkey, beating rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu by almost five points but failing to break the 50% threshold necessary to earn victory outright. In the runup to the crucial vote, Erdogan has accused Kilicdaroglu of trying to "detach" Türkiye from Russia, which earned him a rebuke from the Kremlin.