Turkey’s diplomats have once again rejected Russia’s actions in Ukraine while the presidents of each nation addressed the issue over the phone Wednesday.
The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a clear statement Monday that it rejected Russia’s decision to recognize the “so-called Donetsk and Luhansk Republics,” saying the decision was “unacceptable.” The Turkish delegate to the U.N. on Wednesday reiterated that stance, calling out Russian “aggression” on Ukrainian lands.
“We are witnessing a new aggression on Ukrainian lands, and we reject the Russian resolution to recognize the separatist regions,” the delegate said.
And while Turkey presented its message in the U.N., Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke over the phone to discuss developments in Ukraine.
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Readouts of the call from both governments stressed different elements of the discussions, with Turkey claiming Erdogan made clear to Russia that conflict in the region “would not benefit anyone” while Russia insisted it had raised “legitimate concerns and demands.”
“President Erdogan, who renewed his call for the matter to be resolved through dialogue, stated that it was important to bring diplomacy to the forefront, and that (Turkey) continued its constructive stance in NATO as well,” the readout from Ankara said.
Russia confirmed this element by noting that “the presidents agreed to continue Russian-Turkish contacts in various formats.”
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The relationship between Turkey and Russia remains complicated one. After centuries of direct conflict for control of the Black Sea region and countless reinventions of both nations, relations between the two appeared to be improving.
A Nov. 2021 closed-door meeting in Sochi saw Putin and Erdogan discuss bilateral cooperation on trade and defense as well as regional issues in Syria, where the two countries brokered a cease fire.
But as Russia stepped up its posturing along Ukraine’s border, Turkey stepped up its support for the independent nation.
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“On the particular issue of Russia’s possible invasion of Ukraine, I think Turkey’s playing a helpful role,” James Anderson, President of the Institute of World Politics and former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy under President Trump, previously told WHD News Digital.
“They have stated quite clearly that they oppose any further Russian invasion of Ukraine. They have clearly stated their opposition to Russia’s intervention in Georgia a few years ago. Those statements are welcome.”
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in January approved the sale of drones to Ukraine and last week clearly stated Turkey’s willingness to “stand by … and help” Ukraine. Erdogan also stressed that “Turkey continues to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea,” during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.