Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Ankara was prepared to do more to end the war in Ukraine a day after it facilitated a Russian-U.S. prisoner swap.
The Russian president “thanked” Erdoğan in a phone call for helping put together Wednesday’s exchange of ex-Marine Trevor Reed for the former Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, Akşam newspaper reported.
Russia and the United States carried out the swap in Ankara on amid the tensest bilateral relations in decades over the war in Ukraine.
Putin thanked Turkey’s MİT intelligence agency for its cooperation and supervision of the swap, the Turkish presidency said in a statement, adding Erdoğan told Putin the swap was an indication of the value Turkey placed on peace, and its mediation efforts between Moscow and Kyiv.
Ankara was now “ready to take the initiative to end the war between Russia and Ukraine and to mediate a path to peace,” the statement said.
A maritime neighbour to Russia and Ukraine, Turkey maintains good ties with both countries and has stepped up as mediator since the beginning of the war in February.
Ankara has criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sold drones to Kyiv despite Russian objectives. But Turkey also opposes Western sanctions against Moscow and has stopped short of accusing either country over the conflict, even amid reports of war crimes in parts of Ukraine.
Last month, Turkey held face-to-face talks between Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers in southern Antalya province. The meetings failed to yield results.