Istanbul Process still ideal medium for ending war: Erdoğan

Istanbul Process still ideal medium for ending war: Erdoğan

Istanbul Process still ideal medium for ending war: Erdoğan

The Istanbul Process is still the best medium for a negotiated agreement between Russia and Ukraine to end the war, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, vowing Ankara’s commitment to continuing its mediation efforts to this end.

Erdoğan said he will talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the coming days about the efficient implementation of the grain deal to avoid a food crisis in the world.

“We have performed peace diplomacy that will set an example for the world, both through my engagements with the leaders of Russia and Ukraine and the efforts of our relevant institutions. Although it seems to have been stalled due to the developments in the [battle] field, the Istanbul Process still remains the ideal negotiation medium for lasting peace,” Erdoğan said in his address to the TRT World Forum on Dec. 9 in Istanbul.

Türkiye brought foreign ministers and senior officials from Russia and Ukraine in the early stages of the war together in Antalya and Istanbul to reach a ceasefire and launch talks for an agreement. Although these efforts did not result in a ceasefire, Türkiye successfully mediated between the two warring sides for the resumption of grain export and prisoner exchange. Thanks to the grain deal, the world has partially escaped a global food crisis.

The war in Ukraine has created humanitarian, economic and political costs to the world along with the heavy loss of human lives, Erdoğan said. “From the very beginning of the war, we have pursued an intensive diplomacy on the basis that ‘War has no winner, peace has no loser.’”

Erdoğan recalled that Türkiye has defended the territorial integrity of Ukraine while trying to stop further escalation of the war by unwise anti-Russian policies from the West.

Erdoğan to talk to Putin, Zelensky

Erdoğan informed that he will be talking with both Putin and Zelensky in the coming days to further expand the continued grain deal that allows Russia and Ukraine to export their grain, fertilizers and other products to the world market.

“With these meetings, we want to further boost the implementation of the grain corridor and as Mr. Putin has put it, let’s send the grain first to the underdeveloped countries through this corridor,” Erdoğan said.

Russia has not yet been able to export its food products and fertilizers through the grain corridor due to the problems stemming from sanctions imposed on shipment, payment and insurance services. The United Nations, Türkiye and Russia are in talks to overcome the problem.

“Türkiye will continue to play its role in overcoming the energy crisis stemming from the war as well. The whole world has praised our genuine and realistic efforts. Türkiye is part of the solution, and not of the crisis. Türkiye is exerting efforts for the whole humanity’s good,” he suggested.

Zelensky hails Türkiye’s role

Zelensky sent a video message to the TRT World Forum. Stressing that Ukraine exported more than 13 million of grain to the world thanks to the grain deal, Zelensky said his country has the potential to increase this volume. “We have averted a global food crisis as a result of our joint efforts with Türkiye, Ukraine and the U.N.,” he said.

The grain deal has become an aspect of the Ukraine peace formula, the president stressed, repeating the need for providing and securing the territorial integrity of his country. “It perhaps does not seem so realistic. But in May, when you [Türkiye] started to discuss about establishing a food corridor, it did not look realistic either. Then we signed the deal in July,” he said.

Zelensky personally thanked Erdoğan for his role in making the prisoner swap possible between Russia and Ukraine as well.

Erdoğan slams West over terror

In other remarks, Erdoğan harshly criticized the United States and the European countries for leaving Türkiye alone in its fight against terror. “We will not forget how we were left totally alone against the terrorism,” he said.

The Europeans’ failure in cooperating with Türkiye on terror fades hope for establishing a joint future, Erdoğan said, indirectly slamming the U.S.’ continued military and political support to the YPG in northern Syria.

“No one can question our continued fight against terror,” Erdoğan said. “We underline on every platform that terrorism is a global threat and needs global cooperation to fight it. It was us who dealt the heaviest blow on the DAESH, the greatest threat the world has faced, particularly Europe. We have proven this in the field. Are any of these countries now fighting the DAESH?” he asked.

“We have shown to everyone that we have sufficient power and commitment to maintaining the operations we have carried out for the security of our borders, although we did not receive support from anybody,” he added.

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