Erdoğan, Putin discuss bilateral ties, Ukraine war on phone
A statement issued by the Communications Directorate informed that the two leaders spoke by phone on Oct. 7, a day after President Erdoğan attended the European Political Community in Prague where he held meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, Armenian President Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
“The call addressed matters that would enhance Türkiye-Russia relations as well as the latest developments in the Russia-Ukraine war,” the statement informed. It also stressed that President Erdoğan “reiterated that they stood ready to do their part for the peaceful resolution of the Ukraine issue in a way that would benefit everyone.”
Türkiye has long been in an effort to convene Russian President Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky together for ending the armed conflict that started in February by Moscow. It also mediated for the resumption of the Ukrainian export of grain to the world markets to avoid a major global food crisis.
At a press conference he held following the Prague summit, President Erdoğan noted that he is probably the only leader in the world who can easily talk with both Putin and Zelensky. He underscored the importance Ankara attaches to the exchange of war prisoners between the two countries as well as to the ongoing efforts as regards the shipment of fertilizers and grains, Erdoğan stressed that it would be useful if Russia would start exporting its fertilizers to the world via Türkiye.
While responding to the questions of reporters on Oct. 7 in Istanbul, Erdoğan said a meeting with Putin might be possible in the coming period if both of them can attend a summit in Asia. “We can have an opportunity to discuss both bilateral issues and the Ukrainian war if we can meet,” he said.
On a question of whether Türkiye might seek other options if the United States rejects to supply F-16 jetfighters, Erdoğan said, “There are alternatives in the world. There are so many countries in the world that can supply our needs if the U.S. rejects our demand, just like we had to buy the S-400 systems [from Russia] after it did not give us the Patriots.”
Türkiye requested to procure 40 F-16s and 79 modernization kits for its existing fleets from the U.S. The sale needs to get the necessary approval from the U.S. Congress.