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Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan (Photo Credit: Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

If Turkey is assigned a mediator role following the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ankara will accept the offer to help in the Ukrainian crisis in this capacity and will try to do its part, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday.

Speaking to reporters on his way back from Ukraine where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Erdoğan said that the Western countries were unable to contribute to the solution to the Ukraine-Russia tensions and there are no European leaders fit to resolve it.

“Unfortunately, the West until now has not made any contribution to resolving this issue. I can say they are only making things worse. I attach great importance to the meeting with Mr. Putin regarding this issue. Because, in the meeting with Zelenskyy, I saw that we already had an agreement on these issues. Because at the moment, there is a serious problem in Europe in terms of solving this business,” he said.

“When we look at the situation in the United States, (President Joe) Biden has not yet been able to show a positive approach to this process as of now. In the meetings held by the foreign ministers, no progress towards the result has been recorded yet. We see this clearly in them,” he added.

Praising former German chancellor Angela Merkel and her approach to Ukraine, Erdoğan said Europe was suffering “serious issues at the leadership level” after her departure.

 

Underlining the importance of his upcoming meeting with Putin, Erdoğan said: “It is our hope that, after our meeting with Mr. Putin, if a mediator role is assigned to us, we will accept to be involved in this work as a mediator, and hopefully we will try to do our part. Meanwhile, (Azerbaijani President) Ilham Aliyev visited Ukraine. Apart from that, (British Prime Minister) Boris Johnson also paid a visit there. We want to compile these visits later and take a step accordingly.”

Erdoğan said that there was a positive response from Moscow to Putin paying a visit to Turkey upon Ankara’s invitation after returning from China.

“We will now set the date. Then, hopefully, we want to hold this meeting in order to bring together Mr. Putin and Mr. Zelenskyy at a high level. Our agreement with Mr. Zelenskyy is in this direction. I believe that if we can achieve this at a high level without reducing it to lower levels, the results we see will provide an opportunity for a new solution in the region. This hope arose in me during the meeting with Zelenskyy.”

Erdoğan also underlined the sophisticated nature of the relations between Turkey and Russia. “We currently have serious bilateral relations with Russia. These relationships are not ordinary. The steps to be taken for this are also important. Therefore, I attach great importance to the meeting with Mr. Putin.”

“Of course, the dimension of the issue with Ukraine is much more important. Because the eyes of the world are here right now; Of course, the most important aspect of the event is Donbass. Developments in Donbass, developments along the border, all of these have directed the world’s view to this place as of now,” he added and expressed his hope that the region will not forgo peace.

“This is why we continue our struggle,” he said.

Turkey is ready to do its part to end tensions between Ukraine and Russia, Erdoğan had also said Thursday.

His remarks came at a joint news conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Zelenskyy in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

Before the presser, the two leaders discussed developments in the region and bilateral relations for over three hours.

“I have emphasized that Turkey would be glad to host a summit (between Russia and Ukraine) at leaders level, or discussions at a technical level,” Erdoğan said.

“I want to reiterate that we continue to support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, including Crimea,” he said, adding that Ankara attaches importance to the role of OSCE Ukraine Special Monitoring Mission in Donbass conflict.

The president also spoke highly of Ukrainian officials’ messages prioritizing dialogue and common sense with regards to the tension with Russia.

“We sincerely believe that the crisis will end peacefully and diplomatically on the basis of international law and the territorial integrity of Ukraine in line with the Minsk Protocol,” he said.

The Ukrainian president also thanked Erdoğan for his firm and consistent support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and Turkey’s active participation in the Crimea Platform for the liberation of Crimea and the protection of the rights of the Crimean people.

“We are talking about the support for the Crimean Tatars, the construction of housing for IDPs from Crimea. There is indeed progress in this matter. We are confident that soon there will be a result, namely the implementation of this important project in Kherson, Mykolaiv and Kyiv,” he said.

He went on to say that for peace in Ukraine they are ready to do “everything possible on all platforms, in all formats.”

“It clearly demonstrates who is a friend of Ukraine, always willing to stand by us and help … but I sincerely believe that our friendship will be strengthened not by common threats, but only by common victories,” Zelenskyy said.