Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çauşoğlu on Wednesday held separate phone calls with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts and reiterated Turkey’s readiness to host a meeting between Moscow and Kyiv to de-escalate tensions.
In his calls with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, the minister underlined the importance of diplomatic initiatives on Russia-Ukraine tensions.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in favor of a trilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier in the day.
“In our meeting with Zelenskyy, he expressed that he is open to a trilateral meeting between Putin, Zelenskyy and Erdoğan,” the Turkish president told reporters on the presidential plane on his way back from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The president said such a meeting would take place in Istanbul or Ankara, adding that he will discuss the issue with Putin in a phone call to see what he thinks about the proposal.
“We will follow the issue accordingly as a real war breaking out in the region is not a good omen,” Erdoğan said, adding that it would have negative repercussions for the region.
Turkey has been closely following the developments and is in close contact with both Kyiv and Moscow. Ankara has also offered to mediate talks between them.
Putin has accepted Erdoğan’s invitation to visit Turkey amid the tensions and will make the trip once the pandemic and schedules allow, Kremlin said.
Erdoğan also recently visited Kyiv and held talks with Zelenskyy. The Turkish president reiterated that Turkey stands by its decision not to recognize the annexation of Crimea and declared Ankara’s support for Ukraine’s Crimean Platform initiative.
Turkey shares the Black Sea with Ukraine and Russia. While forging cooperation on defense and energy, Turkey has opposed Moscow’s policies in Syria and Libya, as well as its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. It has also sold sophisticated drones to Ukraine, angering Russia.
The Russian military movements have fueled concerns that Moscow is preparing to send forces into Ukraine. The Kremlin denies its troops are a threat but says they will remain as long as it sees fit.
Turkey has expressed that it is willing to mediate between the two sides if they accept.