Middle East

Erdogan says Russia-Ukraine conflict would be “serious violation” of regional peace

ANKARA, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan warned on Friday that military conflict between Russia and Ukraine would amount to a “serious violation” of regional peace and unacceptable for Turkey, while repeating his offer to mediate.

NATO member Turkey has good ties with Kyiv and Moscow, but opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya, and its annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014. Turkish diplomatic sources said on Thursday that both Russia and Ukraine were open to Turkey playing a role to ease tensions. read more

“Any development in the region between Russia and Ukraine, from border violations to a war breaking out, will bring about a serious violation of regional peace and will cause serious discomfort in the region,” Erdogan said.

He also told reporters in Istanbul that Turkey had great ties with Ukraine – to which Ankara sold armed drones last year, angering Russia – and that its ties with Moscow were advancing “in a peace that hasn’t been seen in our history”.

“We cannot accept these positive developments turning into negatives between Russia and Ukraine. Therefore, we can be a mediator in finding peace between Russia and Ukraine,” he said, adding he had told his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts that Turkey was ready to play any role it can to resolve things.

On Thursday, Erdogan said he would be visiting Ukraine in early February and that he hoped to bring together Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin soon.

He said on Friday that he may visit Moscow to discuss the issue with Putin as well, but did not elaborate.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Jonathan Spicer

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