UPDATE 1-Putin congratulates his “dear friend” Erdogan on his victory in the Turkish elections

(Recasts title and lead to add “dear friend”)

MOSCOW, May 28 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated his “dear friend” Tayyip Erdogan who claimed victory in Turkey’s presidential election on Sunday, saying the victory was proof that the Turkish people value foreign policy independent of Erdogan.

“The election victory is the natural result of your selfless work as the head of the Republic of Turkey, a clear proof of the support of the Turkish people for your efforts to strengthen state sovereignty and pursue an independent foreign policy,” Putin said. in a message. to Erdogan, according to the Kremlin.

“We highly appreciate your personal contribution to strengthening friendly Russian-Turkish relations and mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields,” Putin said.

Putin said he attached great importance to joint projects such as Turkey’s Akkuyu nuclear power plant, which is being built by Russian state energy group Rosatom, and a gas hub Putin has proposed in Turkey. . (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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