Erdogan invites Putin and Zelensky to Turkey ‘to settle differences’

Turkey has decided to intervene in the situation around Ukraine.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, to Turkey to "settle differences" and "sort out their problems," said Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.

"Turkey is ready to act in any role to reduce tensions between Russia and Ukraine," TASS quoted Kalin as saying.

Erdogan, he said, plans to travel to Ukraine in the near future to hold talks with Zelensky, and he also regularly talks with Putin.

Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov responded to the invitation evasively. According to him, Moscow welcomes the efforts of any countries to resolve the situation around Ukraine, but the place of negotiations in this case is secondary.

"The main thing is to influence Kyiv to implement the Minsk agreements," said Peskov.

Last week, Erdogan said he had "significant concerns" about the buildup of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine. In a joint statement with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he noted NATO's readiness to "find a solution" to avoid escalation.

On Tuesday, January 18, Erdogan said that the Kremlin is unlikely to dare to invade Ukraine, because Ukraine is a "strong country." "Before Russia takes this step, it needs to reconsider the situation around the world and its own situation," Erdogan said.

At the end of December, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu promised Ukraine to continue cooperation in the face of confrontation with the Russian Federation, which, according to him, has reached a "dangerous" level.

"Turkey will not ignore its principles and close relations with Ukraine just because we have extensive ties with Russia. We will do what the national spirit requires and what is necessary for our security," Cavusoglu said, speaking at a virtual conference organized by the Turkish Association for International Relations.

He recalled that Turkey has the second largest army in NATO after the United States and plays an active role in the missions and operations of the Alliance.

Turkey, which does not recognize the annexation of Crimea, is preparing to sell Ukraine a new shipment of Bayraktar TB2 attack drones, which ensured the success of the Azerbaijani army in the war over Nagorno-Karabakh, and last October were used by Kyiv in the Donbas.

According to Bloomberg, a contract is being prepared for the supply of at least two dozen more drones to Ukraine, as well as missiles for them and ground control stations.

The use of Turkish drones in the Donbass has drawn the ire of the Kremlin. During the conversation with Erdogan on December 3, Russian President Putin called the use of  these drones a "provocation" by Kyiv.

In April, Erdogan said that Ankara supports Ukraine's accession to NATO, will maintain a course for strategic cooperation with Ukraine and will never recognize the annexation of Crimea.

  Erdogan, Zelensky, Putin, Turkey