Türkiye comments on Ukraine peace prospects
Even an unfavorable peace settlement would still be better than the continued bloodshed in Ukraine, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
Speaking to reporters after a European Political Community (EPC) meeting in the Czech capital Prague on Thursday, Erdogan highlighted the importance of the July deal on the unblocking of grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, and the major prisoner swap between Moscow and Kiev last month.
“We see the opening of the grain corridor and the exchange of prisoners as an important diplomatic success. So far, over six million tons of grain and food have been shipped to world markets,” Erdogan said.
He added that Ankara has earned the trust of both Kiev and Moscow during its mediation efforts.
During our contacts today, many European leaders spoke highly of Türkiye’s diplomatic moves. We continue our efforts to end the war, believing that even the worst peace will be better than war.
Russia and Ukraine held peace talks in Istanbul in late March. The negotiations have since remained stalled. The Russian side, which initially expressed optimism on the peace process, later accused Ukraine of backtracking on all the achieved progress.
At that time, the two parties were discussing a draft peace agreement that would have made Ukraine a neutral state in exchange for security guarantees given by major world powers. Later, however, Kiev ended the talks, after accusing Russian troops of having committed war crimes, an allegation that Moscow has vehemently denied.
Erdogan has repeatedly offered to broker a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky on Turkish soil. Moscow has insisted that the two leaders should only get together to sign concrete agreements already prepared for them by the negotiating teams.
Zelensky, however, signed a decree on Tuesday in which he outlined the “impossibility” of holding talks with Putin. The move came after Putin signed treaties on admitting four former Ukrainian territories into Russia.
The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), together with the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, overwhelmingly voted in favor of joining Russia in referendums held between September 23 and 27.
Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the Council of the Federation, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, said on Thursday that the accession of the four territories cannot be the subject of any future negotiations. “That is out of the question,” she said, adding that Moscow is “ready to end military action, but on the conditions Russia proposes.”
Kiev declared Russia’s move to incorporate new territories as legally void and based on “sham” referendums. The Ukrainian government promised to oust Russian troops from all lands it considers to be under its sovereignty, with the help of the US and its allies.