Turkey offers to mediate Ukraine-Russia peace summit

Proposal underscores unique position of Turkey, which is striving to maintain relationships with both nations amid the war

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the end of a joint news conference following their meeting in Istanbul. AP
Powered by automated translation

Following a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday expressed his country's readiness to mediate a peace summit aimed at resolving the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

The proposal underscores the unique position of Turkey, which is striving to maintain relationships with both nations amid the war.

During their discussions, Mr Erdogan and Mr Zelenskyy covered a range of issues, including the war's progress, the security of shipping routes in the Black Sea, the suspended grain export agreement and the enhancement of defence industry collaboration.

Mr Erdogan, advocating a diplomatic resolution, reiterated Turkey's support for Ukraine's sovereignty and its willingness to enable dialogue with Russia.

Turkey has made previous efforts to broker peace, organising negotiations between the conflicting parties in 2022.

Despite these initiatives, diplomatic advancements have stalled, prompting Mr Erdogan's renewed offer to convene a leaders' summit.

Mr Zelenskyy articulated Ukraine's stance, indicating a reluctance to directly involve Russia in the initial peace summit planned in Switzerland.

Russia-Ukraine war by the numbers, two years on

Russia-Ukraine war by the numbers, two years on

He emphasised the necessity of establishing a peace road map aligned with Ukraine's interests before considering Russian participation in future discussions.

Mr Zelenskyy's remarks highlighted a principled approach to negotiations, demanding justice and the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity without conceding to aggression.

The leaders also delved into defence co-operation, with the Ukrainian President visiting Istanbul's shipyards to inspect the construction of naval corvettes for Ukraine and discussing joint arms production initiatives.

Despite the war's constraints, both nations have agreed to further their defence partnership, reflecting a shared commitment to Ukraine's military capabilities.

The talks also touched on the Black Sea grain deal, a critical arrangement brokered by Turkey and the UN that enabled Ukraine to export grain amid Russian blockades.

Despite challenges in reviving the deal, Turkey's mediation reflects its broader diplomatic strategy, as it balances its defence ties with Ukraine against its energy collaboration with Russia.

Updated: March 08, 2024, 9:54 PM