BY DAILY SABAH WITH
Despite the recent Russian annexation of Ukrainian territories and violence that followed, the door of diplomacy should be kept open, Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said late Tuesday while discussing the ongoing war.
Kalın answered questions on the agenda in a live broadcast that he attended.
When asked whether President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin will have a meeting in Astana, Kalın said Erdoğan would meet with Putin on Thursday.
Commenting on Türkiye’s role in the current stage of the Russia-Ukraine war, Kalın said: “First of all, we want to keep the door of diplomacy open. When the war rages, which unfortunately seems to increase at the moment. Those who think that there is no more ground for diplomacy are often wrong. On the contrary, diplomacy becomes even more important in such times.”
The official highlighted that Türkiye brought Russia and Ukraine together at the Antalya Diplomatic Forum and in Istanbul, orchestrated the grain deal and prisoner exchange, and ensured security around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Kalın stressed that despite the escalation in fighting since the referenda in eastern Ukraine, Türkiye still believes that the door of diplomacy should remain open, adding: “We are making suggestions to both sides in this direction.”
Official visit to Libya
Kalın also noted that a high-level delegation from Türkiye traveled to Libya on an official visit in early October and a hydrocarbon deal was signed after troops affiliated with rival Libyan Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha tried to enter Tripoli on Aug. 27. Kalın said Türkiye has also invited Libyan officials to visit the country and that the most recent visit was carried out upon President Erdoğan’s instructions.
Explaining that the Turkish delegation traveled to Tripoli but contacts in Benghazi and Tobruk continue, Kalın said that the hydrocarbon agreement determines the maritime jurisdiction limits signed in 2019 by the government of former Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj.
“It was a very important agreement that also registered that we are maritime neighbors of Türkiye and Libya. We got it approved, and the Libyan side is in the process of getting it approved. We can cooperate in the context of maritime jurisdictions. It is very important that we do not violate the law of any country. The claims of the Greeks are of no value. Because this is an agreement between Türkiye and Libya. When Greece made a similar agreement with Egypt, nobody said anything to them.”
Kalın also commented on the possibility of a meeting between Erdoğan and Syrian regime leader Bashar Assad.
“In the future, when our country’s interests require it, it may or may not be in this meeting, but there is no scheduled meeting at the moment. Our perspective on Syria is also clear. We want a government to come to power by making a democratic election there, in accordance with international law, to end this civil war, and to return the refugees in Türkiye to their countries when the conditions in Syria are ripe. The work that will enable them to do this in a voluntary, safe and dignified manner within the framework of the United Nations parameters continues.”
In addition, Kalın was asked to evaluate Erdoğan’s speech at the opening of the new legislative year of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM), during which the president said that “this century will be Türkiye’s century.”
“Our president has used this expression several times. In his address in the Parliament, in the presence of all political parties, ‘Let’s build the century of Türkiye together,’ he said. In fact, it is a call to rewrite, build, enlarge and continue this great Türkiye story together,” Kalın stressed.