Turkey’s President visits Kyiv to set stage for summit aimed at avoiding war in Ukraine

Turkey’s President visits Kyiv to set stage for summit aimed at avoiding war in Ukraine #Baaghi

Feb 3, 2022: According to a report by AFP, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is visiting Kyiv on Thursday in a bid to set the stage for a three-way summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin aimed at avoiding war in Ukraine.

Following talks between the veteran Turkish leader and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, Kyiv is reluctant to accept US warnings that President Putin is preparing to attack. Erdogan has also sought to discuss the possibility of war, following his diplomatic path apart from European leaders. Erdogan said last month that “we want peace in our region, and we are ready to do anything for that.”

But their attempts to host a peace summit between Putin and Zelensky have been thwarted byKremlin’s anger at Turkey’s supply of war drones to Kyiv, which played a key role in the 2020 conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Putin warned Erdogan in December that Kyiv was trying to disrupt the peace deal through “provocative” military operations for its two eastern separatist provinces, including through the use of Turkish drones. Ukraine has been embroiled in a simmering conflict in its mostly Russian-speaking industrial east since the 2014 revolution, putting the former Soviet republic on a strong pro-Western path.

Zelensky called Russia’s deployment of new forces on Ukraine’s eastern and northern borders, as well as on the adjacent Crimean peninsula, part of the Kremlin’s diplomatic power game with NATO and Washington.

Worried over the state of the economy, authorities in Kyiv fear that Western rhetoric about the Russian invasion is frightening investors and further damaging Ukraine’s troubled economy. To this end, Zelensky has warmly welcomed a series of visits by Western leaders who have reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and right to self-determination.

President Erdogan is officially heading to Kyiv to attend an economic forum in which the two leaders will announce a new free trade agreement.

The Kremlin meanwhile has maintained a cool reception to Erdogan’s mediation offers in the past month. When Erdogan first raised the idea of flying to Moscow from Kyiv, the Kremlin said it was unaware of such plans.

Since then the Turkish leader has formally invited Putin to visit Turkey, however, analysts say Putin is not interested in external mediation because he wants to be treated by Washington as an equal.

But Erdogan has sought to show that he accepts Putin’s concerns about the dangers posed by NATO expansion in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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