Turkey’s President Erdogan urges Putin to declare a ceasefire in Ukraine

Mar 6, 2022: According to a report by Reuters, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan urged his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Sunday to declare a ceasefire in Ukraine, open humanitarian corridors and sign a peace agreement.

“President Erdogan, who said an immediate ceasefire will not only ease humanitarian concerns in the region but also give the search for a political solution an opportunity, renewed his call of ‘let’s pave the way for peace together’,” his office said.

“Erdogan emphasised the importance of taking urgent steps to achieve a ceasefire, open humanitarian corridors and sign a peace agreement,” it said.

Turkey, a NATO member, has maritime borders with Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea and has good relations with both. Ankara has offered to host talks, calling Russia’s attack unacceptable, but has opposed sanctions on Moscow. In a statement after an hour-long phone call, the Turkish presidency said Erdogan told Putin that Turkey was ready to play a role in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict.

The Kremlin said Putin had told Erdogan that Russia would suspend its military operation only if Ukraine stopped fighting and Russia’s demand fulfilled.

Russia calls the attack a “special military operation.” It has uprooted more than 1.5 million people, with the United Nations saying it is the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. Turkey has said it would be “futile” to expect results from talks between Ukraine and Russia as the fighting continues.

Turkey’s defense minister said on Sunday that an immediate ceasefire was needed so that Ankara could evacuate its citizens from Ukraine.

Erdogan, who has called Putin a “friend,” last spoke to the Russian leader on February 23, a day before the Russian invasion. Erdogan is the third NATO leader to speak to Putin, after leaders from Germany and France.

Building closer ties with Russia over defense, trade and energy, and hosting millions of Russian tourists each year, Turkey has also sold drones to Ukraine, which has angered Moscow, and Syria and Libya.

Turkey opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya, as well as its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Turkey has said it wants to bring together foreign ministers from Ukraine and Russia for talks at a diplomacy forum next week in southern Turkey. Both countries have welcomed the offer, but Ankara says it is unclear whether they will be able to attend.

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