Turkey pushes for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine: NPR


Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the sixth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Astana, Kazakhstan on October 13.

Vyacheslav Prokofyez/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Vyacheslav Prokofyez/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images

Turkey pushes for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine: NPR

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the sixth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Astana, Kazakhstan on October 13.

Vyacheslav Prokofyez/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images

ISTANBUL — Turkey is pushing Russia and Ukraine to begin peace talks, hoping to build on recent successful diplomatic initiatives such as the critical grain deal that allows Ukraine to export food via a safe corridor in the war zone.

“Outside the grain corridor, we can open a corridor of peace, and the best way to do that is to move from dialogue to peace,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Saturday. Earlier this month, after Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone, Russia reversed its decision to quit the grain deal.

Turkey maintains a fine balance between Russia and Ukraine. A NATO ally, Turkey has positioned itself as a neutral player in the war against Ukraine – as being pro-Ukrainian without being anti-Russian, analysts say.

On Monday, a White House spokesman confirmed that Turkey was also the site of talks between CIA chief Bill Burns and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Naryshkin. However, the spokesperson denied that peace negotiations were on the table.

Burns “does not lead any negotiations. He does not discuss the settlement of the war in Ukraine. He sends a message about the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons by Russia, and the risks of escalation towards strategic stability. He raise the cases of unjustly detained American citizens,” the spokesperson said.

Turkey has deepened economic and political ties with Moscow while maintaining defense and trade ties with Kyiv

Turkey’s declared neutral stance has drawn criticism from the West and even raised questions about Turkey’s loyalty to NATO. But it has been a generally successful strategy for Turkey, says Sinan Ulgen, director of the Center for Economic Studies and Foreign Policy in Istanbul.

“The Turkish president was able to reach both Putin and [Ukrainian President] Volodymyr Zelenskyy – one of the few world leaders who was able to do this,” he says.

Turkey has a long history of defense cooperation and trade relations with Ukraine. In the days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones supplied to Ukraine helped contain the Russian advance, one of the early turning points of the war.

Turkey pushes for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine: NPR

A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone during the rehearsal of a military parade dedicated to Independence Day in Kyiv on August 20, 2021.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Efrem Lukatsky/AP

Turkey pushes for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine: NPR

A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone during the rehearsal of a military parade dedicated to Independence Day in Kyiv on August 20, 2021.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP

The Turkish president has urged Russia to return all occupied territories to Ukraine, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

But Turkey has also deepened its economic and political ties with Russia. Turkey has chosen not to join Western sanctions against Moscow – a major concern for the United States and European Union countries. Turkish companies rushed to fill the void left by Western companies in the Russian market, which helped Turkey gain some influence. At the same time, Russian trade, tourism and investment have flowed into Turkey, encouraged by Erdogan, who faces a critical election next year and whose economic policies are blamed by many as the reason for the Turkey’s crippled economy.

The day after Russia joined the Black Sea export deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, Putin praised Turkish neutrality in a speech to members of the Russian Security Council and said “without no doubt” that Russia would not stand in the way of the grain deal. .

“Given Turkey’s neutrality in the conflict in general, the possibilities of the grain industry and Erdogan’s efforts to meet the interests of the poorest countries, we will not interfere in any way in the future in grain supply from Ukraine to Turkey,” Putin said, adding that Russia would continue to cooperate with Turkey.

Today, Turkey wants to use its influence with Ukraine and Russia to get them to talk and negotiate an end to the war.

Ibrahim Kalin, Erdogan’s chief adviser and spokesperson, took part in meetings with Russian and Ukrainian officials. “Turkey sees room for diplomacy in the war,” he says. “As impossible as it may seem.

Even though the war is about Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty, he says, there is a larger geopolitical picture for Russia.

Turkey pushes for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine: NPR

A crew member prepares grain analysis for inspection by members of the Joint Coordination Center aboard the Barbados-flagged vessel Nord Vind from Ukraine loaded with grain and anchored in Istanbul on October 11.

Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images

Turkey pushes for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine: NPR

A crew member prepares grain analysis for inspection by members of the Joint Coordination Center aboard the Barbados-flagged vessel Nord Vind from Ukraine loaded with grain and anchored in Istanbul on October 11.

Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images

“Russia, whether you like it or not, whether you agree with their arguments or not, is interested in finding and making a new deal with the West, and especially with the United States,” he said. Kalin to NPR. “And that’s the main issue, I think, that will occupy us all for years to come.”

Turkey wants to keep communication open with both Russia and Ukraine, and urges Western allies to do the same.

“Without some sort of discussion and negotiation, without involving and engaging the Russian side, how are we supposed to end this war? Kalin said.

“You can try to stop this with a comprehensive peace agreement,” he says. “Or you go for more localized solutions, you know, a ceasefire here, a de-escalation here, a prisoner swap here, a grain deal here. The second model has been working for the last seven, eight months for the start of this war.

Turkey does not equate engagement with Russia with approval of Russia’s actions, he notes. But he acknowledges that ongoing Russian attacks on Ukrainian civilian targets could make it more difficult for Turkey to maintain its position of neutrality.

Turkey’s position carries risks

This is one of many vulnerabilities in Turkey’s position, according to Ulgen. Another is the possibility of economic suffering.

“That position may indeed be compromised if and when, and likely when, the West will increase and tighten sanctions against Russia,” he says.

Calls for peace talks are growing. The United States has recently pushed Ukraine to possibly consider negotiations.

A senior State Department official, asking not to be named in order to discuss policy options, told NPR that the United States believes “the only real solution to this conflict will ultimately be diplomatic. And we continue to work with the Turks on this, on the need to reach a diplomatic end.” The official would not go into detail about those efforts.

“But that can only happen when Russia doesn’t destroy civilian infrastructure and launch these unjust and unjustified attacks on Ukraine.”


npr

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button