President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday that Turkey could play the role of mediator in easing tensions between Russia and Ukraine after the seizure of three Ukrainian ships by Moscow sparked a major crisis, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.
“We could take on a mediator role, something we have discussed with both sides,” Erdoğan told reporters at Istanbul Atatürk Airport before heading to the G-20 summit in Argentina.
His comments came after phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko.
Erdoğan also spoke with US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, according to the Turkish presidential office.
“Both Mr. Putin and Mr. Poroshenko made requests during our talks. We will convey the [Ukrainian] demands to Mr. Putin in our meeting in Argentina,” Erdoğan said, adding that the issue would also be discussed in his talks with Trump in Buenos Aires.
Turkey does not want to see any further escalation in the conflict between its fellow Black Sea littoral states that could bring instability to the region.
Ankara is working closely with Moscow on the Syrian conflict and is also purchasing Russian S-400 missile air defense systems.