Türkiye hopeful for truce between Ukraine-Russia

Russia’s Vladimir Putin is now more open to possible peace talks to end the Russian-Ukrainian war, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said noting that he would seek grounds for such an initiative by the phone conversations planned with the leaders of the two warring sides.

“Regarding this issue, I saw that Mr. Putin is now much softer and more open to negotiations than in the past. We will see by listening to both leaders how far these can lead with the telephone diplomacy we will have in the coming days,” Erdoğan told journalists on Oct. 20 on his flight from Azerbaijan to Türkiye.

Recalling his last phone conversation with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, Erdoğan said he observed that the Ukrainian leader was not rejecting such peace talks.

“I felt that he was also in favor of overcoming this issue. We are not hopeless. We hope that we will continue on the road to peace by bringing the two leaders together. Because both sides have serious losses,” Erdoğan stated.

Elaborating on Europe’s dispute with Russia on the supply of natural gas, Erdoğan said Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) could be an alternative for additional gas supply and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev was positive on the issue.

“As of now, of course, they [Europe] cannot obtain natural gas from Russia whenever they want. What are their expectations? If Türkiye becomes the hub of this business, will such natural gas demands from Türkiye be met or not?” he said.

“Likewise, will there be a supply in the natural gas demand from Azerbaijan, namely TANAP, at this point? I see that my brother Ilham Aliyev has a positive opinion on this issue as well. We will evaluate this and evaluate the developing process accordingly, and take our steps accordingly,” he added.

The relative parties will make necessary assessments and they will take steps accordingly, he stated. The Turkish president had a meeting with Aliyev on Oct. 20 during his visit to Azerbaijan.

Erdoğan also said there was no obstacle preventing the extension of a deal for the export of Ukrainian grain to world markets.

“There is no obstacle to extending the shipping agreement. I saw this again in my phone call with [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky last night and in my meeting with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. But in the meantime, if there is any blockage, there is no obstacle for us to overcome,” Erdoğan stated.

Türkiye, the U.N., Russia, and Ukraine signed a deal in Istanbul on July 22 to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which was halted after the start of the Russia-Ukraine war on Feb. 24.

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