Turkish president urges Putin to visit Ankara 'as soon as possible'

In call with Russian president, Turkiye's Recep Tayyip Erdogan underlines need to resolve Ukraine tensions via dialogue.

Turkish president urges Putin to visit Ankara 'as soon as possible'

Turkiye's president urged his Russian counterpart on Wednesday to visit his country "as soon as possible," according to an official statement. 

"President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan noted that he would like to welcome Russian President (Vladimir) Putin in Turkiye for the High-Level Cooperation Council Meeting as soon as possible, as had been agreed upon during his visit to Sochi in September," said the Turkish Communications Directorate following a phone call between the two leaders.

During the call that addressed rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia, Erdogan emphasized the "great importance" that he attached to his close dialogue with Putin which "yielded favorable outcomes," adding that he was determined to maintain this approach.

He also underlined that, as a matter of principle, Ankara does not recognize recent steps by Moscow that violated "Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," while highlighting the importance of reaching a solution to the dispute between the two countries on the basis of the Minsk agreements.

Between September 2014 and February 2015, Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany, collectively known as the Normandy Quartet, signed the Minsk Protocol, which effectively halted troop advances and greatly lowered tensions.

However, the agreements could not be implemented, and the confrontations devolved into trench warfare between thousands of soldiers.

Erdogan also told Putin that none of the sides would benefit from the dispute becoming more complicated, or worse, turning into a military confrontation.

"President Erdogan stated that Turkiye, in this spirit, attached importance to the continuation of diplomatic talks and that it, today as well, stood ready to do its part for the de-escalation of tension and the preservation of peace," said that statement.

The Turkish president reiterated his call for the resolution of the dispute through dialogue and for diplomacy to be prioritized, while stressing that Ankara maintained its constructive stance within NATO.

Putin announced on Monday that Moscow was recognizing two eastern Ukrainian breakaway regions as "independent" states, followed quickly by an order to send Russian forces there to "maintain peace."

The announcements drew widespread global condemnation, with Western countries announcing new sanctions on Russia.

Erdogan had called this recognition unacceptable, stressing Turkiye's efforts to help reach a resolution.

In 2014, after invading Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, Moscow began to support separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the central government, a policy that it has maintained for the past seven years. The conflict has taken more than 13,000 lives, according to the UN.

Putin's latest moves follow Russia amassing some 100,000 troops and heavy equipment in and around its neighbor, with the US and Western countries accusing it of setting the stage for an invasion.

Russia has denied it is preparing an invasion and instead claims Western countries undermined its security through NATO’s expansion towards its borders.

Kremlin statement

Following Putin's conversation with Erdogan on Wednesday, the Kremlin released a separate statement saying the two leaders exchanged views on Russia's recognition of the two breakaway regions.

It noted that Putin explained the move as a result of "the aggression of the Ukrainian authorities in Donbas and their categorical refusal to implement the Minsk Agreement."

Putin also expressed disappointment with the reaction of the US and NATO, saying they "ignored legitimate Russian concerns and demands," it added.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Şubat 2022, 20:16

Hüseyin Demir

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