Turkey won’t sanction Russia, despite NATO pressure – reports
Turkey is not going to impose sanctions on Russia, but will instead work to maintain dialogue with the Kremlin, Turkey’s TRT Haber TV channel reported on Friday, citing Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The official clarified that Ankara had no plans to “impose sanctions on Russia,” adding that the Turkish government was eager to “keep the channel of trust open.” Kalin also pointed out that Turkey would want to avoid any negative repercussions for its own economy as a result of punitive measures.
While denouncing Russia’s offensive against its neighbor, Turkey, unlike most other NATO countries, has stopped short of slapping punitive measures on Russia. Ankara instead is seeking to mediate between the two warring sides in the hope of brokering a peace deal, or at least a ceasefire.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Turkish media on Friday that the alliance expects “all our allies to impose sanctions” on Russia, and that he “conveyed this matter” to Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during their meeting in Antalya.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitry Kuleba, in Antalya on Thursday. It was the first time the two diplomats had held discussions since Russia launched its military offensive against Ukraine on February 24.
Although the talks failed to yield any breakthroughs, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted on Friday that there had been “certain positive developments.” The previous three rounds of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia had been held in Belarus.
President Erdogan presented the Lavrov-Kuleba meeting as a diplomatic victory per se, under the circumstances, in a phone call with US President Joe Biden. The Turkish head of state also reiterated that Ankara’s role as a mediator between Kiev and Moscow was important in terms of preventing the armed conflict from intensifying even further.
Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine has seen the US, Canada, the EU, Japan, Australia and several other countries impose a series of sanctions on Moscow intended to “cripple” the Russian economy. The punitive measures targeted, among other things, Russia’s central bank, as well as several major commercial banks, state-funded media – including RT – and Russia’s leadership directly.