Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, will hold a bilateral meeting in Astana to discuss the recent developments in the Russian-Ukrainian war amid Ankara’s planned initiatives for ending the armed conflict.
The two leaders will come together on the sidelines of the Sixth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) to be held in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on Oct. 13. Their latest meeting was in mid-September in Samarkand. Erdoğan is also expected to hold a bilateral meeting with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko who will attend the summit as an observer. The summit will bring leaders together from 27 countries.
The meeting comes as both Ukraine and Russia increased their offensive against each other which weakened hopes for a ceasefire in the seven-month-long war. But Ankara, which has become an important mediator between the two sides, is still hopeful that diplomacy should prevail even in the most difficult times.
“Despite rising violence following the annexation [of Ukrainian regions by Russia], we still think that the diplomacy gate should be left open. We are telling this to both sides,” İbrahim Kalın, Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy advisor and spokesman, told in a televised interview late on Oct. 11.
Predicting that the war will likely escalate in the coming period, Kalın stressed, “But those who think ‘No ground for diplomacy’ are usually mistaken. To the contrary, diplomacy becomes even more important in such periods.”
The presidential adviser also said that the Western powers, particularly the United States, want the prolongation of the war, explaining, “This has two dimensions. The first one is about the occupation and annexation of the Ukrainian territories. This must stop. No doubt about it. The way for this is not more war but negotiations and diplomacy. The second dimension is geopolitical. It is about a confrontation between Russia and the West.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the media on Oct. 11 that Ankara may suggest the start of a new round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Along with the Ukrainian war, Erdoğan and Putin will also discuss bilateral ties as both countries are willing to deepen economic and trade ties.
Turkish, Russian defense ministers spoke on phone
In the meantime, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, spoke over the phone late on Oct. 11, the Turkish side has announced. The ministry informed that the two ministers discussed the developments in Ukraine and Syria and other regional and bilateral issues.
On Ukraine, Akar urged once again for an immediate ceasefire to avoid further casualties and reinstall peace and stability in the region. It said it was observed that both sides were in a common understanding over the ceasefire without giving further details. The continued export of grain through the Black Sea and Türkiye’s commitment to doing whatever was necessary for peace in the region and the flow of humanitarian aid were also conveyed by Akar to his counterpart, the statement read.
On Syria, the Turkish minister reiterated that Türkiye’s priority is to prevent a terror corridor on its southern borders and to fight the terror groups in the region. He also emphasized the need for the implementation of the agreements Ankara and Moscow had brokered in the past, referring to the latter’s responsibility of removing the YPG from northern Syria.
Hurriyet Daily News