'Turkey ready to mediate Russia-Ukraine tension with consent of sides'

Turkish president says country 'ready to give best support to establish channel of dialogue'.

'Turkey ready to mediate Russia-Ukraine tension with consent of sides'

Turkey is ready to play the role of mediator, facilitator, or to provide support in any format desired to end the Russia-Ukraine tension with the consent of both sides, the Turkish president said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters on return from Qatar, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey's hope is that "the tension does not increase further and the stability in the region is preserved."

"We are ready to give our best support to establish a channel of dialogue," he continued. "With the consent of both sides, we can offer support in facilitation, mediation, or any other desired format. Of course, we will do our part without hesitation for the peace of the region."

Longstanding tensions over Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 have been exacerbated by Russian-backed separatists in the eastern border region of Donbas, along with a Russian military buildup decried by the West.

On Friday, Ukraine's defense minister warned that Russia could trigger a large-scale escalation in January next year.

Oleksiy Reznikov said around 94,000 Russian troops were deployed on the Ukrainian border and that intelligence forces were working on all possible scenarios that could arise.

Following that, the US said it will take "strong" economic measures against Russia in case Moscow escalates military aggression against Ukraine.

Turkey-Israel relations

Underlining that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and intelligence will play an active role in ties with Abu Dhabi, Erdogan said a similar process could also be possible with Israel.

"I have had talks with Israel in the past. But at this point, Israel needs to be more sensitive about its Palestinian policy in the region. It needs to be sensitive about Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque," he said. "As soon as we see the sensitive approach here, we will do our best and take our steps."

Asked whether there would be a mutual reassignment of ambassadors, the president said: "All of these things will happen. The Israeli side already knows what our sensitivities are. We know Israel's sensitivities. So, we solve the issue based on these sensitivities."

In late November, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan paid his first official visit to Turkey since 2012, and both nations signed a series of cooperation agreements, which Erdogan called "cordial steps that will launch a new era between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates."

Hüseyin Demir