(Moscow) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday gave strong support to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan who faces difficult presidential and legislative elections next month, hailing a leader with “ambitious goals”.

Mr. Putin was speaking at a ceremony organized by videoconference on the occasion of the inauguration of the first nuclear power plant in Turkey, built by Russia, hailing a “flagship project” of relations between Moscow and Ankara.

This plant “is a compelling example of everything you, President Erdogan, are doing for your country, for the development of its economy, for all Turkish citizens,” Putin said.

“I want to put it bluntly: you know how to set ambitious goals and you seek to achieve them with confidence,” Mr. Putin added, particularly warm statements that testify to the close personal relationship forged by the two leaders in recent years. years.

“This ceremony shows that the Turkish government and the president, personally, pay great attention to the development of Russian-Turkish relations in all areas,” the Kremlin master continued.

“We support such an attitude and are convinced that close cooperation and partnership between Russia and Turkey are mutually beneficial,” he insisted.

The clear show of support comes as Mr. Erdogan is campaigning for what could be the toughest elections since he came to power in 2003, with a dual presidential and legislative ballot on May 14.

Despite diverging interests, they cooperate on several issues, such as Syria. The Turkish president is also one of the few leaders to have good relations with both Moscow and Kyiv despite the conflict in Ukraine.

The inauguration of the Akkuyu power plant is one of the symbols of this partnership, “one of the most important mutual projects in the history of Russian-Turkish relations”, Putin boasted Thursday.

Recalling that Moscow had sent humanitarian aid after the earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey, Mr. Putin said that Russia was “always ready to extend a friendly hand”.

“We are aware of the difficult tasks that the Turkish government and president have to solve in the area of ​​reconstruction […] and we are ready to continue providing the necessary aid and assistance to our Turkish partners,” the Russian president said. .