Despite mounting difficulties and growing concerns over the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, Turkey is still hopeful of a summit between Russian and Ukrainian leaders as a result of the continued mediation efforts by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s defense minister has said.
“Despite certain difficulties, we are still hopeful. It will perhaps be possible to gather the two leaders in the coming days upon the proposal of our president. We, as Turkey, continue to make all the possible contributions, including mediation for an immediate truce, to avoid further deterioration of the humanitarian condition,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters on April 27.
Akar made this statement after he attended a security coordination meeting with the participation of 40 defense ministers at a NATO base in Germany under the leadership of U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and with the participation of Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.
Turkey is following the developments with concern, Akar said, citing there are some problems in the field and all the countries are exerting efforts to resolve them. “In general, dialogue and restraint are very important. We have to open the diplomatic way through restraint. We believe peaceful resolution can be found much easier this way,” he stressed.
Explaining that even before the start of the war, Turkey had been trying to mediate between the two countries and that Erdoğan is still in contact with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the minister suggested that Ankara was still hopeful for a leader-level summit.
Erdoğan spoke with Zelensky on Sunday and with Putin on Tuesday in an effort to bring the two men together in Istanbul.
Humanitarian conditions worsening
Defense Minister Akar drew attention to the worsening humanitarian situation in the field, stressing: “The evacuation of civilians is very important. Our works continue for the evacuation of our handful of citizens and other civilians through the sea.”
Akar also underlined that Turkey would continue to deliver humanitarian aid to Ukraine as the reports coming from the field show that the situation is worsening. On a question about the drifting naval mines in the Black Sea, Akar informed that Turkey has deployed additional radars to detect the naval mines and is taking measures to destroy them.
The minister also informed that no warship had passed from the Turkish straits after Turkey started to implement the Montreux Convention.
Hurriyet Daily News