Sanctions useless against Russia over Ukraine row: Turkish official

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin says possible sanctions against Russia would only put off underlying problems.

Sanctions useless against Russia over Ukraine row: Turkish official

Western sanctions against Russia over the crisis in eastern Ukraine would only delay underlying problems, according to Turkiye's presidential spokesman.

Sanctions against Russia are useless, Ibrahim Kalin told the German newspaper Welt in an interview published Sunday, adding it would be better to listen to and understand the strategic concerns of the other side.

Noting that Moscow feels threatened by NATO, Kalin said that three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to redraw borders and renew strategic alliances.

Kalin's remarks came after the G7 group of the world's major economic powers urged Russia on Saturday to withdraw troops from the Ukrainian border and pursue a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

"Russia must de-escalate and fulfill its commitments," the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US said in a joint statement after their meeting in Munich.

They stressed their preference for a diplomatic solution but also underlined that they are ready to impose severe sanctions on Russia if it violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Western countries have accused Russia of amassing nearly 150,000 troops along the Ukrainian border, prompting fears that it could be planning a military offensive against its former Soviet neighbor.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any plan to invade Ukraine and instead accused Western countries of undermining Russia's security through NATO's expansion toward its borders.

Turkiye-Germany relations

Noting that the relations between Turkiye and Germany are currently not at the desired level, Kalin described the potential between the two countries as tremendous.

Underlining that the two countries should focus more on realigning their strategic interests and historical views, he added that Germany should try to understand the trauma that Turkiye experienced in recent years.

One such trauma was the July 15, 2016 coup attempt by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in Turkiye, Kalin said.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup, which left 251 people killed and 2,734 injured.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

Hüseyin Demir

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