Erdoğan, Putin discuss prisoner exchange between Russia, US in Turkey

Erdoğan, Putin discuss prisoner exchange between Russia, US in Turkey

Erdoğan, Putin discuss prisoner exchange between Russia, US in Turkey

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 28 talked to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and discussed the exchange of prisoners between Russia and the US that took place in Turkey on April 27, along with the developments regarding the war in Ukraine.

Putin thanked Erdoğan for the exchange of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko and American marine corpsman Trevor Reed that took place in Turkey under the coordination and supervision of the National Intelligence Organization, said the presidential communications directorate.

President Erdoğan stated that Turkey’s mediation in this exchange is not only a sign of the importance it attaches to peace, dialogue and cooperation, but is also meaningful in terms of its mediation mission.

Pointing to the role played by the National Intelligence Organization in the clearing process, President Erdoğan said that coordination and close dialogue between intelligence units should be continued. He stated that this would contribute to the prevention of humanitarian tragedies in the region and the establishment of an environment of stability.

Stating that they are ready to take the initiative to end the war between Russia and Ukraine and to mediate on the road to peace, Erdoğan expressed that Turkey wants to establish a lasting peace in the region as soon as possible by increasing the momentum gained in the Istanbul talks.

The Turkish president emphasized that Turkey would continue their efforts to overcome the crisis between Turkey’s two neighbours and to make peace prevail with determination and sincerity.

After his meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Ankara, Erdoğan held a phone conversation with Russia’s Putin on April 25.

The international community is pressing the two sides for a ceasefire so that they can negotiate a deal to end the armed conflict and resolve growing humanitarian problems in Ukraine. Guterres also urged Moscow for the evacuation of civilians stranded in the areas where heavy clashes between Russian and Ukrainian armies continue.

Erdoğan has had several phone talks with the leaders of Ukraine and Russia in a bid to facilitate their negotiations, while the Turkish foreign and defence ministers have been engaging with their counterparts on the issue of humanitarian corridors and efforts to achieve a ceasefire. Even before Russia launched its military operation into Ukraine on Feb. 25, Erdoğan proposed the conflicting sides to hold a meeting in Istanbul in order to calm the tension in the region.

NATO member Turkey, which has friendly ties with both sides, has positioned itself as a mediator. Ankara announced that it would fully implement the requirements of the Montreux Convention and urged all parties to refrain from making the Black Sea an arena of “competition”.

Turkey’s southern Antalya province hosted the first high-level meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers on March 10. Istanbul was also a venue for a face-to-face meeting between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators on March 29.

Erdoğan earlier said Turkey was ready, in principle, to act as a guarantor country for Ukraine, but the details of such a format need to be worked out. His statement was upon Kiev’s demand that Turkey be among the countries that will be guarantors in any deal with Moscow.

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