Turkey ready to preside over mediation between Russia and Ukraine: Turkish President

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday that Turkey is ready to preside over mediation between Russia and Ukraine, Reuters Agency said, citing Turkish news channels.

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“Regardless of whether Turkey was to mediate joint talks or conduct them separately with both sides, we want to be part of the dispute resolution,” President Erdogan said, returning from his visit to Turkmenistan. “We want relations between Ukraine and Russia to develop in a positive direction. I hope this region will not be dominated by war,” the Turkish head of state added, according to the “Daily Sabah”.

On November 16, Recep Erdoğan held a telephone conversation with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, during which bilateral relations between the two countries and the development of regional events were discussed.

“Thanks to our cooperation with Turkey, we have already strengthened our army. The planned free trade agreement will significantly strengthen our economy,” the Ukrainian President wrote on social media.

Ukraine uses Turkish drones in battles fought in the east of the country against Russia-backed separatists. Turkish authorities have criticised Russia’ annexation of Crimea and expressed support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the “Daily Sabah” reported.

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On Friday, the Ukrainian head of state informed the public about intelligence information that indicates that Russia is preparing a coup in Ukraine. The country’s authorities also informed about the concentration of approximately 90,000 Russian soldiers near the border of both countries. The intelligence also pointed to the existence of specific plans suggesting a re-invasion of Ukraine by Russia this winter.

Turkish-Russian relations are characterised by deep military cooperation and different positions on the issues of wars fought in Libya and Syria, where both states actively support hostile sides. However, in 2019 Ankara bought a fourth-generation Russian S-400 missile system, endangering relations with other NATO members.

In September this year the Turkish President also announced his willingness to cooperate with Russia in the construction of fighter aircraft and submarines, and admitted that his administration “strives to further develop bilateral relations with Russia”.

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