Turkey ready to work with Russia for Karabakh peace: Erdoğan

Turkey ready to work with Russia for Karabakh peace: Erdoğan

ISTANBUL

Turkey is ready to work with Russia concerning a possible peaceful solution to the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh clashes, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, underlining that Ankara has as much right to be in the solution as Russia.

Speaking to reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul, Erdoğan said that Azerbaijan offering Turkey to have a place in the peace process was “righteous.”

“It is not possible to put Mr. [Ilham] Aliyev’s statement aside. I believe that here if Russia thinks about being included in the solution for peace, then Turkey has as much right to be included for peace as Russia,” Erdoğan said.

Conveying that Turkey too has a place in the Minsk Group because of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the president said that until now, there had not been a concrete solution that the Minsk “trio” have produced for the conflict.

“Azerbaijan is putting its righteous demand forth. It says, ‘If Armenia suggests Russia [for peace negotiations], then we are suggesting Turkey. Thus, Turkey should be involved in the peace talks with Russia,’” he said.

Erdoğan also said that he did not hear any negative approach from Russia on the suggestion, adding that there had not been any negative comments that Russia made against Turkey.

“We have been in collective works [with Russia] whether it is on Azerbaijan and Armenia, or other matters such as Syria and Libya,” he said.

“I hope that after this, we will take successful steps regarding Libya, Syria or Azerbaijan and Armenia, and produce peaceful solutions,” he added.

Erdoğan confirms S-400 testing

Meanwhile, the president has also confirmed recent reports on tests carried out for the Russian-made S-400 defense systems that Turkey had acquired while answering a question about the U.S.’s approach to the S-400 tests.

“Tests have been conducted, it is true. It is still being carried out,” he said.

“The U.S.’s approach does not bind us. What are we going to do if we do not test the means we have? We are not going to ask the U.S. for this,” he said.

Erdoğan also said that Turkey is not only testing S-400s but also is currently conducting tests for weaponry, some being purchased from the U.S.

“We are testing these, and we will continue to test these,” he said.

Underlining that Greece, a NATO ally, too has Russian-made defense systems, like that of S-300s, and actively uses them, Erdoğan questioned why the U.S. is staying silent on Greece.

“They are using them, let alone testing. Is the U.S. saying anything [to Greece]? Then, it means that it is disturbing them that there are Russian-made weapons here,” he said.

“We are decisive, and we will continue with our path like we have been doing,” he added.

Ceasefire in Libya may not be permanent

Regarding the recent ceasefire in Libya, the warring sides held after U.N. mediated military talks, Erdoğan said that the agreement is not “of the highest level.”

“It is more of the lowest level. Time will show how permanent it will be,” he said.

Turkish, Iranian leaders discuss Nagorno-Karabakh, Syrian conflicts by phone