HomeWorldTürkiye ready to host Ukraine-Russia peace summit, Erdoğan says - World News

Türkiye ready to host Ukraine-Russia peace summit, Erdoğan says – World News

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ANKARA

Türkiye is ready to host a peace summit between Russia and Ukraine, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Istanbul.

NATO member Türkiye has been positioning itself as a potential mediator between Moscow and Kiev since Russia launched its invasion more than two years ago.

Erdoğan’s proposal comes as Ukraine faces mounting pressure on the front line, where it has lost ground to Moscow in recent months amid hold-ups to aid from its Western allies.

“We are ready to host a peace summit where Russia is also present,” Erdoğan told a press conference alongside the Ukrainian leader.

“While we continue our solidarity with Ukraine, we will continue our work to end the war with a just peace on the basis of negotiations,” Erdoğan said.

Zelensky dismissed the idea of negotiating directly with Russia, arguing that Ukraine and Western leaders must set out peace on their own terms.

He noted there would be an upcoming peace summit in Switzerland, where Kiev would promote its own “peace formula”, but ruled out Russia’s participation.

“We don’t see how we can invite people who block, destroy and kill everything. We want to get results,” Zelensky said.

He called the talks with Erdoğan “productive” and thanked Türkiye for its mediation efforts on Ukraine’s Black Sea grain exports and prisoner exchanges.

Ankara has sought to maintain good relations with both Moscow and Kiev, helping the two sign a now shuttered agreement to ensure the safe passage of grain via the Black Sea in July 2022.

 ‘We are not hopeless’ 

Erdoğan said he and Zelensky had discussed issues of port security, navigation safety in the Black Sea, prisoner exchanges and food security, and that they shared the same opinions.

“We are not hopeless,” he said.

“We believe that there are some opportunities that Türkiye can provide with its stance.”

Türkiye hosted ceasefire talks between Kiev and Moscow in the first weeks of the war and wants to revive them.

“Both sides have now reached the limit of what they can achieve through war,” Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said this month. “We think it’s time to start a dialogue towards a ceasefire.”

Türkiye’s strategic location on the Black Sea and its control of the Bosphorus Strait gives it a unique military, political and economic role in the conflict.

In July 2022, Ankara with the United Nations brokered the Black Sea grain deal, the most significant diplomatic agreement so far reached between Kiev and Moscow.

Moscow ditched the initiative — which allowed the safe passage of Ukrainian agricultural exports across the mine-laden Black Sea — a year later, complaining that the terms were unfair.

Since the collapse of the grain deal, Kiev has used an alternative shipping route hugging the coastline to avoid contested international waters.

Türkiye has been lobbying hard for an agreement to ensure cargo can once again navigate those waters in safety.

Prisoner-of-war swaps will also be on the agenda.

After a visit to Türkiye last year, Zelensky went home with five top commanders from the Azov regiment who were supposed to remain in Türkiye until the end of the conflict under a prisoner exchange deal with Moscow.

The Erdoğan-Zelensky meeting comes a week after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met his Turkish counterpart Fidan at a diplomatic forum in Antalya.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was to visit Türkiye last month, but postponed the trip, according to Turkish and Russian media citing diplomatic sources.

The Kremlin has said it is rescheduling the visit, but has given no date.

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