Erdoğan says leaders’ summit for Ukraine possible in Istanbul
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Istanbul may host a leaders’ summit in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a bid to solve the issue of the status of Donbass and Crimea as part of a peace deal between the warring sides.
“We, as Turkey, will be very happy if we can hold the leaders’ summit in Istanbul, and as a result, if we can realize a decision of the two leaders which will turn the negative trend into a positive one,” Erdoğan told reporters on April 1.
The president also had a phone conversation with Putin late afternoon on April 1 to discuss his proposed summit.
A statement from Erdoğan’s office said he and Putin also discussed the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia that were held in Istanbul earlier in the week.
Erdoğan’s office said the Turkish leader told Putin that the Istanbul talks had “raised hopes for peace.” Erdoğan said Turkey wanted to cap off those efforts by bringing Putin and Zelenskyy together, according to the statement.
The statement said Erdoğan told Putin that it was important for the sides “to act with common sense and to maintain the dialogue.”
During the call, Putin thanked Erdoğan for hosting the meeting between the delegations, according to the Erdoğan’s office.
Referring to his phone conversation with Zelensky on March 31, Erdoğan said his Ukrainian counterpart was positive about such a meeting. “Mr. Putin also had a positive attitude before,” he added.
Erdoğan, Zelensky discuss over phone
Erdoğan told Zelensky that the meeting in Istanbul had added meaningful momentum to the process carried out for the termination of the war and the establishment of peace given its outcomes, the Presidential Communications Directorate said in a statement with regards to the phone conversation.
Noting that it was important for the negotiations held in Istanbul to yield various signs of de-escalation of the tension, the president reiterated his proposal to bring together Zelensky and Putin, with Turkey hosting that meeting.
Zelensky, for his part, thanked Erdoğan for having hosted the meeting between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations in Istanbul, the statement said.
“I am determined to hold conversations with both Mr. Putin and Mr. Zelensky as soon as I return. In these talks, we will say, ‘Our goal now is to bring you together as soon as possible. We are ready to host the meeting at the level of heads of state,” Erdoğan told a group of reporters during his visit to Uzbekistan on March 29.
“But in the meantime, it is of great importance to ensure a temporary ceasefire,” the president added.
Erdoğan also said Turkey welcomes any possible guarantor role for the security of Ukraine if the warring sides could reach a peace deal.
During the conversation, Zelensky thanked Turkey on April 1 for its readiness to be a guarantor of his country’s security in case of a peace deal with Russia.
“Had another conversation with a real friend, President Erdoğan. Noted the high level of organization of negotiations of delegations in Istanbul. Agreed on further steps towards peace. Thanked for the readiness of Turkey to become the guarantor of security of our state!” he tweeted.
Ukraine wants Turkey, Germany and the members of the U.N. Security Council to act as guarantors in any potential peace deal, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on March 31.
Diplomatic efforts for Ukraine continue: Turkish FM
Ukraine and Russia have made “meaningful progress” in the talks in Istanbul and Turkey makes efforts for another meeting at the ministerial level, Çavuşoğlu said on April 1.
Referring to the face-to-face meetings of Russian and Ukrainian negotiation teams in Istanbul on March 29, Çavuşoğlu said, “This needs to continue and conclude. There are decisions to be taken at the level of leaders. There is an agreement that is likely to be initialed at the ministerial level. Therefore, we continue our contacts at all levels without interruption.”
The minister was speaking at a press conference with Colombian Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez.
Stating that there are a total of 87 Turkish citizens in Ukraine and approximately 30 Turkish citizens in Mariupol, Çavuşoğlu said Ankara was making efforts to evacuate its citizens.
“We have made efforts for humanitarian issues as much as ceasefire and lasting peace. Especially on the opening of humanitarian corridors. It was Mariupol that we had the most difficulty with. So we welcome yesterday’s silence,” he said, referring to relatively calming down in clashes.
International Committee of the Red Cross asked Ankara about the number of Turks in the city on April 1. The citizens will be evacuated from Mariupol by buses, Çavuşoğlu said, noting that they have talks also for the injured to be taken out of there and treated.
Turkey to introduce social media regulation ‘as soon as possible’
President Erdoğan also on April 1 said the government will soon introduce a new social media regulation.
“We will implement the necessary arrangements as soon as possible,” Erdoğan said, addressing a youth event in Istanbul.
Turkey’s young generation is “very lucky in terms of infrastructure and technological opportunities,” Erdoğan said but also warned against the disadvantages of social media.
“Besides the convenience they provide, they also contain dangers if not used correctly. As Turkey, we have started preparations for similar studies to protect all of our citizens,” he said.
The government took the first step regarding social media policies last year and asked social media providers to open representative offices in Turkey.
Erdoğan also urged young people to read books and said, “We want our young people to stay in touch with real life while making use of the internet and social media.”
The research shows that the number of books published per capita and the number of books read are increasing in Turkey, Erdoğan added.
Pointing out that the 13 libraries being opened in Istanbul’s Fatih district contain 150,000 books, Erdoğan stated that these facilities have the capacity to serve a total of 1,800 people.
Stating that Turkey’s largest library has been put into operation within the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Erdoğan said: “Our National Library serves our youth and researchers day and night. I am pleased to see that the entrance door functions like a beehive when we pass by the library.”
Erdoğan also underlined that electronic book applications are also gaining popularity.