President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday that Turkey has maintained robust relations with the West without ignoring the East.
"We cannot afford to turn our back on either the East or the West. While developing our relations with Europe, we never ignore Asia and Africa," Erdogan said, attending an event organized by the Washington-based Halifax International Security Forum via video link.
"It is not only wrong but also impossible to confine Turkey, which is geographically an African-Eurasian country within a narrow framework concerning diplomacy," Erdoğan added, according to a statement from the Turkish Presidency.
"We do not see our recently deepening cooperation with Russia as an alternative to our long-established ties with America," he said.
"We attach great importance to our position in NATO, which we have been a member of for 68 years. Turkey's borders are also NATO's borders," he added.
"Today as a reliable ally, we also assume critical responsibilities in the face of the new challenges and threats confronting NATO," he said.
"With the significant contributions we make to the Alliance in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, the Black Sea, Mediterranean, and other geographies, we have shouldered a heavy burden," the Turkish president added.
"We shall not allow the fact to be overshadowed and questioned by narrow political motives," he added.