The previous talks between Ukraine and Russia held in Istanbul should convene at the level of leaders, he said, stressing that the “Istanbul Process” was an especially important threshold in the negotiations.
Erdoğan underlined the significance of reaching a ceasefire, effective operation of humanitarian corridors and safe evacuations. Turkey will continue to do its best to stop this “course that harms everyone” and to establish lasting peace, Erdoğan added.
Erdoğan and Putin had the conversation following a visit by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Ankara on April 25. Guterres traveled to Moscow on April 26 for a meeting with Putin, which will be followed by talks in Kiev on April 28 in an effort to mediate an end to Russia’s invasion.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting on April 25, Erdoğan recalled he had a phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the weekend. Erdoğan said he expressed the approaches of both sides, along with Turkey’s suggestions, during talks with his interlocutors from Russia and Ukraine.
“The talks held in Istanbul continue to be the most important platform for resolving the Ukraine-Russia crisis,” he said, reiterating that Ankara aims to see a final peace deal during a leaders’ meeting in Turkey.
Erdoğan has had several phone talks with the leaders of Ukraine and Russia in a bid to facilitate their negotiations, while the Turkish foreign and defense ministers have been engaging with their counterparts on the issue of humanitarian corridors and efforts to achieve a ceasefire.
Even before Russia launched its military operation into Ukraine on Feb. 25, Erdoğan proposed that the conflicting sides should hold a meeting in Istanbul in order to calm down the tension in the region.
NATO member Turkey, which has friendly ties with both sides, has positioned itself as a mediator. Ankara announced that it would fully implement the requirements of the Montreux Convention and urged all parties to refrain from making the Black Sea an arena of “competition.”
Turkey’s southern province of Antalya hosted the first high-level meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers on March 10. Istanbul was also a venue for a face-to-face meeting between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators on March 29.
Erdoğan earlier said Turkey was ready, in principle, to function as a guarantor country for Ukraine, but the details of such a format need to be worked out. His statement was upon Kiev’s demand that Turkey be among the countries that will be guarantors in any deal with Moscow.
Hurriyet Daily News