Turkish president aims to bring Ukrainian, Russian counterparts together

Baku, March 31, AZERTAC

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said he was determined to hold talks with Ukrainian and Russian leaders and bring them together to put an end to the bloodshed, according to Anadolu Agency.

The Turkish leader’s remarks came before his flight to Turkiye from Uzbekistan, where he held a two-day visit to boost bilateral ties.

Erdogan spoke about the Russia-Ukraine war, Turkiye’s position, and mediation efforts for lasting peace, as well as energy ties with Israel.

"I believe the meetings held by the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul helped the peace process gain meaningful momentum. The Russian decision to significantly reduce military operations in Kyiv and Chernihiv is truly an important step," Erdogan said.

Stressing that he was resolute to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he said he would tell his counterparts that the ultimate goal of Turkiye was now to bring them together.

"We are ready to host a meeting at the presidential level. However, it is of great importance to ensure a temporary cease-fire," Erdogan said, adding that Ankara's active diplomacy and balanced approach enabled it to host negotiations in Turkiye.

Erdogan also stressed Turkiye’s possible role as one of the guarantor states for Ukrainian security, saying Ankara was open to becoming a guarantor country, while the details should be clarified.

Turkiye continues opposition to sanctioning Russia, instead prioritizes standing against Russia's military moves and continuing the dialogue, Erdogan added.

"This dialogue is important, necessary, not only in the context of Ukraine but also in many other geographies concerning us closely, such as Syria, Libya, the South Caucasus," Erdogan said.

Another point Erdogan stressed was the participation of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in the Russian and Ukrainian delegations’ meetings in Istanbul.

"Abramovich, on the other hand, participated in the negotiations as a member of the Russian delegation. ... If Russia and Putin preferred to include Abramovich in their own delegation, then (they) believed, trusted him. We greeted him as we did with everyone else at the meeting. I wish success to all the members of the delegation participating in these efforts. I hope we will see the results of these efforts as soon as possible," he said.

Turkiye's peace-favoring approach to the Ukraine-Russia war and balanced foreign policy have gained the appreciation of the international community, Erdogan said, and noted that NATO members had a positive approach towards Turkiye, as he witnessed during the recent Extraordinary Leaders' Summit of the alliance.

He further noted that many leaders at the summit acknowledged Turkiye's responsibility and mediation efforts to resolve the war through peaceful means, while several NATO and EU leaders, especially following the talks in Istanbul, adopted a different view of his country.

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