“Turkey is ready to do its part to end the crisis between the two friendly countries it borders from the Black Sea,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said of the Russia-Ukraine tensions.
“Turkiye is ready to do its part to resolve the crisis between two friendly countries that it neighbours in the Black Sea,” Erdogan said after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday, adding that Turkiye “continues to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea”.
Erdogan suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin could travel to Turkiye after attending Friday’s opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
Speaking to reporters after talks with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Erdogan repeated his idea of holding a Putin-Zelensky summit in Turkiye aimed at easing fears that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine.
“Our visit took place in a sensitive period,” he said. “We continue to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea,” Erdogan said after the two sides signed a new free trade agreement.
Eight cooperation agreements
Before the joint news conference, the top authorities from Turkish and Ukrainian sides signed a total of eight cooperation agreements, including a free trade agreement, and memoranda of understanding.
Ukraine and Russia have been locked in conflict since hostilities in the eastern Donbas region broke out in 2014 after Russia illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula.
Russia has also recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning another military offensive against the former Soviet republic.
Moscow has denied it is preparing to invade and said its troops are there for exercises.