Turkiye is ready to host a summit of Russian and Ukrainian leaders to defuse the ongoing tensions, Turkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.
Speaking to reporters on his way home from Ukraine, Erdogan said he is ready to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky together.
About his visit to Kyiv, Erdogan said he reiterated Turkiye’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“The tension between Russia and Ukraine is increasing, unfortunately ... we are ready to make the necessary contribution to lower the tension,” he said, adding that his Ukrainian counterpart is also ready to do his part in this direction.
Kyiv and Moscow are locked in a conflict since 2014 when hostilities in the eastern Donbas region broke out after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula.
Russia has also recently amassed troops near Ukraine's borders, prompting fears that it could be planning another military offensive against the former Soviet republic.
Moscow has denied it is preparing to invade, saying its troops are there for exercises.
The Turkish president said he believes “the international media's escalation of the issue between Ukraine and Russia would do more harm than good,” and that is of great importance to behave with meticulous sensitivity.
Criticizing Western leaders, Erdogan said they have not contributed to a peaceful solution yet.
“There is currently a leadership crisis in Europe. Previously (former German Chancellor Angela) Merkel took the leading role in important matters, but we can’t see such initiatives now ... there is no need to name others (European leaders),” he added.
Erdogan said US President Joe Biden also failed to put a positive outlook on the situation, and the meetings between top US and Russian diplomats have yet to resolve the matter.
“It is our hope that after meeting Mr. Putin, if a mediator role is assigned to us, we will be involved and try to do our part,” he said.
Erdogan also said that Turkiye could engage in an effort to transit Israeli natural gas to Europe.
“We will also discuss this issue with Israel, with Mr. Herzog. This issue will be discussed with the prime minister as well. We had already cleared this path with Israel in the past,” said Erdogan.
“We can use Israeli natural gas in our country, beyond using it, we can also engage in a joint effort for its transit to Europe. Now, with Mr. Herzog, I hope these issues will be on our agenda during his visit to Turkey,” he added.
Responding to a question on the US operation resulting in the death of Daesh/ISIS ringleader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, Erdogan said: “Turkiye played a very important role in the regression of the Daesh/ISIS terrorist organization with numerous anti-terror operations.”
“Turkiye resolutely continues its fight against the Daesh/ISIS terrorist organization and the distorted mentality it represents, on the way to ensuring international peace and stability,” he said.
Erdogan said that Turkiye will continue to actively contribute to international efforts in the fight against terrorists as an active member of the International Coalition Against Daesh/ISIS.
He said that all terrorist organizations should be fought without discrimination in order to ensure international peace and security.
An overnight raid by American special forces on a building on the outskirts of Atma in northern Idlib led to the death of Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, also known Hajji Abdullah.
Al-Qurayshi was named the new leader of Daesh/ISIS in 2019 after the US killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi earlier that year.