(Bloomberg) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed disagreement with what he called “negative attitudes” by world leaders toward Russian President Vladimir Putin over the invasion of Ukraine.

“Both leaders and prime ministers have negative attitudes toward Putin,” Erdogan told a group of Turkish journalists in New York Wednesday evening. “Of course, we do not have the same attitude. I do not find these attitudes right. Because Russia is not an ordinary country.”

While providing combat drones to Ukraine’s military, Turkey has refused to join sanctions against Russia over the invasion. Erdogan has sought to broker peace between the warring parties and to revive a UN-backed deal that he helped engineer in 2022 that had allowed Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea. At a Group of 20 summit this month in New Delhi, Erdogan urged world leaders to meet some of Russia’s demands after he failed to persuade Putin to return to the grain deal that he quit in July. 

Turkey is asking world leaders to facilitate insurance of Russian food and fertilizer exports by Lloyd’s of London and to reconnect Moscow to the SWIFT system for international payments, according to three Turkish officials familiar with the discussions.

Read more: Erdogan Urges G-20 to Meet Russian Demands on Grain Deal

While Turkey’s efforts aren’t likely to sway Ukraine’s allies in the US and Europe, Erdogan’s embrace of Russia’s demands underlines the challenges he faces in his balancing act after Moscow’s invasion.

“Russia is one of the leading producers of grains in the world. Now you cannot ignore such a country,” Erdogan said. “We will continue our relations with Russia in a positive way,” he said, referring to Turkey’s hopes to become a hub for natural gas exports to Europe with Russia’s backing as well as Turkey’s reliance on Russian gas imports.

Turkey’s Economy

In his remarks to journalists, Erdogan also backed his new economic team in its fight to contain rampant inflation, saying the country is poised to see improvement by the first quarter of 2023.

“I think we will start to see positive developments regarding inflation in the first quarter of next year. There are auspicious signs right now,” Erdogan said. “We trust and believe in” our economic management team, he said.

(Updates with remarks on Turkey’s economy starting in seventh paragraph. An earlier version of this story had an erroneous day for Erdogan’s remarks.)

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