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23 Sep, 2022 05:51

World leaders must talk to Putin and Zelensky – Erdogan

Turkish president calls for diplomatic efforts to find a peace deal
World leaders must talk to Putin and Zelensky – Erdogan

World leaders are not doing enough to end the conflict in Ukraine, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told journalists in New York on Thursday.

He called on his counterparts to focus on diplomacy with both Moscow and Kiev to put an end to the fighting.

Ankara has always “believed in the power of dialogue and diplomacy,” Erdogan said, pointing to Turkey’s mediating efforts in both the Istanbul grain deal between Moscow and Kiev, and the recent prisoner exchange between the two sides. He added that individual efforts of world leaders are not enough.

“The UN could not end the war, could not stop the bloodshed and it could not find a solution to the energy and food crisis,” he said, calling on other world leaders to join Turkey in its diplomatic efforts. Erdogan noted that he would call Putin and Zelensky and continue his “telephone diplomacy.”

There must be a “joint effort of all world leaders,” and “everyone” should be talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, to “open the door” for diplomacy, he said. Any “negative approaches” to the two leaders will “not bring the result we expect,” but will only bring more death and destruction, Erdogan warned.

Since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the US and its allies in Europe and elsewhere have supported Kiev through financial and military aid. Moscow has repeatedly warned that arms deliveries to Kiev will only prolong the conflict.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz are among the few Western leaders who have remained in contact with Putin since the start of the operation, though their efforts so far have not brought about any diplomatic breakthroughs.

Turkey has maintained contact with both Moscow and Kiev throughout the hostilities. It condemned the use of force by Russia, but refused to take part in the international sanctions on Moscow. Ankara was also involved in the UN-brokered deal to allow the export of grain from Ukrainian ports, which was agreed on between Russia and Ukraine in July.

Earlier this week, Erdogan told US news program PBS NewsHour that Moscow seeks to end the conflict as soon as possible. He also said that Russia cannot be allowed to keep the territories it has gained since February.