The Russia-Ukraine war will end at the negotiation table, not on the battlefield, Türkiye's foreign minister said Wednesday, highlighting the country's efforts to mediate an end to the conflict.
"One way or another, this war will end on the table. We do not think it will end with military gains on the ground. Even so, there is a risk of war that could last for decades," Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a conference on Türkiye's enterprising and humanitarian foreign policy in the capital Ankara.
Pointing to the high-level tripartite meeting held between Türkiye, Ukraine, and Russia at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, Cavusoglu said: "There are new realities in the new conditions, compared to March. It has become more complex. It is not that easy, but we should not lose hope."
On separate two-day peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations held in Istanbul later in March, Cavusoglu said: "Actually, when we gathered together in Istanbul, the parties were very close to a cease-fire. But then, the magic hands touched and we saw the sides move away from the tables."
Stressing the importance of Türkiye's policy of balance on the Russia-Ukraine war, he said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the only leader in NATO able to meet equally with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts. "Being a NATO country does not mean that we cannot meet with Russia or other countries. It is necessary to keep this balance well."
Türkiye is a pioneer in mediation issues in organizations such as the UN, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, he added.
A prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine was also secured at the initiative of President Erdogan, he said, adding that Ankara was played a facilitating role in talks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant issue, as well.
He criticized reactions from the EU, US, Greece, and Greek Cypriot administration against the admission of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as an observer member of the Organization of Turkic States. "They threatened the Turkic states and put pressure on them, but they saw that the Turkic world would no longer bow to such threats and pressure."
Additionally praising Türkiye's initiatives in Africa and Latin America, Cavusoglu said the country's trade with Africa had skyrocketed from $4.5 billion to $35.4 billion, set to reach $45 billion this year.