No winners in war, Erdoğan says
Amid the ongoing armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stressed there are no winners in war and vowed Turkey will do its best to end the war and bring diplomacy back.
“I want to be clear: There are no winners in war,” Erdoğan said in his weekly parliamentary address on March 9 in an indirect message to both Russian and Ukrainian leaders, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, respectively, a day before the two warring sides’ top diplomats will meet in Antalya.
Wars cause loss of lives of innocent humans and children, destruction of cities and economies and displacement of millions of persons, Erdoğan said, describing what is going on in Ukraine as “remorselessness.”
“We, therefore, see our efforts to relieve the pain as a neighborhood duty,” he said, informing about his two-week-long diplomatic activities that included meetings and contacts with more than a dozen leaders, including Putin and Zelensky.
“It is now more evident how valuable and accurate our country”s balanced approach is since the beginning of this crisis in our region. The opposition does not understand this, but the key role we are playing is well appreciated by the world,” he stated.
Recalling that Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers will come together at a meeting with the participation of Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on March 10 in Antalya, the president hopes that the encounter will open the doors for peace.
“I also want to welcome the ceasefire for the evacuation of civilians before this crucial meeting,” Erdoğan stated, informing he will also go to the resort town to attend the Antalya Diplomacy Forum to continue his diplomatic efforts.
He added that their wish is to give an immediate end to the war and reinstate peace in the region.
Witch-hunt against Russians must stop
Meanwhile, Erdoğan stressed that Turkey’s policy that stipulates the protection of territorial integrity will continue but added that it does not approve the witch-hunt launched against Russian artists and individuals.
“Just as we would not abandon Ukraine, we also do not accept actions akin to a witch-hunt against the Russian people, literature, students, or artists,” he said.
Citing Germany’s Munich Philharmonic firing a Russian conductor over his friendship with Putin, Erdoğan said such “fascist practices” cast a shadow over Ukraine’s “legitimate struggle” in resisting Russian troops by fueling a “climate of hatred and grudges and sowing new grievances.”
On refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, amid reports some African and Asian refugees have been held back, Erdoğan stated that a mindset that discriminates against the oppressed based on their religion, national origin, or skin color has nothing to do with humanity or civilization. He also stressed that the number of refugees fleeing war has already exceeded 2 million with concerns that it can hit 5 or 10 million very soon.
Turkey’s region unstable in last 11 years
Underscoring that the region that encompassed Turkey as well had been going through painful and challenging days over the last 11 years, Erdoğan said, “We as Turkey have never lost our cool in the face of the crises in our region, displaying a principled and conscientious stance since the very first day.”
Recalling that Syria, Yemen, Libya and other countries face deep crisis with impacts on the entire region, Erdoğan stated Turkey has never discriminated against any of the people who fled the war and oppression in their countries because of their language, religion, or skin color.