https://ahvalnews.com-Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke over the phone with his U.S. counterpart Antony Blinken late Tuesday for a conversation about the standoff between Russia and Ukraine, the U.S State Department reported on Tuesday.
In a readout of the call from the U.S side, “discussed ways to further coordination and NATO unity regarding the threat of further Russian escalation and aggression against Ukraine” while acknowledging “[Turkey’s] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s engagement” in support of a diplomatic resolution. No readout was available from the Turkish side.
Since the United States and NATO began sharing warnings about a buildup of over 100,000 Russian soldiers along Ukraine’s eastern border, Washington and Ankara have remained in contact.
Ahead of President Erdoğan’s visit to Kyiv last Thursday, his chief foreign policy advisor Ibrahim Kalin spoke with Jake Sullivan, who is the National Security Advisor to U.S President Joe Biden. In this call, the two underscored their commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
Erdoğan has offered to mediate between Ukraine’s President Volodomyr Zelensky and Russia’s Vladimir Putin to find a solution to the crisis. Zelensky has affirmed his support for the prospect, but Putin has been noncommittal.
Turkey is concerned about the outbreak of war in the region because of its good ties with Russia and Ukraine, which has created some friction with Washington. On his way home from Ukraine, Erdoğan criticised the West’s handling of negotiation with Russia and said that President Biden has failed to show a “positive approach” to talks.
Erdoğan and Çavuşoğlu also were critical of a sanctions-based approach to Russia, arguing that it has proven ineffective to date. Turkey has never joined sanctions against Russia since they were first imposed in 2014 after the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 by Russian-backed separatists.
Ankara has never recognized Russia’s annexation of Crimea and it has continued to provide military support to Kyiv. Moscow has made clear its displeasure with the sale of Turkish military hardware to Ukraine, but Washington has said it supports Turkish-Ukrainian military cooperation.
In the Blinken-Çavuşoğlu call, the two also discussed Turkey’s process of normalising relations with Armenia. Since the end of the second war over Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended in Baku’s favour, Turkey has insisted it is ready to restore ties with its small eastern neighbour.
It has been reported that Biden encouraged Erdoğan to pursue the talks with Armenia when they last met in Rome last October. Since the start of the new year, Turkey and Armenia conducted their first round of normalisation talks in Moscow on January 14 and they next will meet in Vienna on February 24.