Turkey urges Russia for urgent humanitarian truce
“The blood and tears flowing in Ukraine must stop now. There is no winner in war and no loser in peace,” Çavuşoğlu said, speaking alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow after a meeting as part of efforts to secure a ceasefire.
Turkey supports the talks in Belarus between warring sides and contributes to the process as a country that has dialogue with both Russia and Ukraine, Çavuşoğlu emphasized. Ankara also demarches for the exit of its citizens from the port city of Mariupol in Ukraine, he added.
Lavrov, for his part, said Ankara follows a pragmatic line in the crisis and identified Turkey’s approach as “very balanced.” The Russian minister also welcomed that Ankara did not participate in sanctions imposed by the West against Russia. He pointed at a disagreement with Ukraine for evacuation of civilians from Mariupol city, saying Kiev objects exit of civilians through Russian territory.
Both Çavuşoğlu and Lavrov endorsed the opinion that a possible meeting between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine should take place if the ongoing negotiations yield progress.
In his opening remarks before the meeting, the Russian minister drew attention to Turkey’s position in the Ukrainian crisis and said, “It is a fact that we have differences of opinion with Ukraine. Turkey has displayed a balanced and objective attitude from the very beginning. This balanced attitude is very important for us.”
Moscow cares about Ankara fulfilling its obligations under the Montreux agreement, he added.
In the meeting, they will exchange views on the issues besides Ukraine as well, including the content and date of the next ninth Turkish-Russian High-Level Cooperation Council, he said.
Çavuşoğlu, for his part, stated in his opening speech that he was paying this visit when Russian-Turkish relations were going through testing times. The minister also reiterated Turkey’s will to solve the Ukrainian crisis by peaceful means.
“Turkey has taken a clear stance from the very beginning. It has clearly shown its balanced, objective, right and legal stance. As a country that has good relations with both sides, we have maintained our role as an honest mediator and facilitator despite all difficulties,” Çavuşoğlu said.
In this direction, Turkey had announced that it would fully implement the Montreux Convention, the minister said and thanked Moscow for its decision not to pass four Russian warships through the straits during the current war.
Turkey and Russia have worked in many difficult cases to date, besides their bilateral relations, he said, adding, “Today, we are around a table. Once again, thank you for this trust.”
Çavuşoğlu will also travel to Ukraine after Russia and meet with his counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, on March 17.
Last week the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers met on the sidelines of a diplomacy forum organized by Turkey, although their talks failed to produce a breakthrough.
France, Israel, Switzerland and Turkey have offered mediation, Lavrov said, speaking in an interview with the Russian RBC TV Channel on Wednesday.
“Proposals from those countries that do not play a Russophobic game, understand the root causes of the current crisis, understand that we are talking about the fundamental national interests – the legitimate interests of the Russian Federation – and that do not join this war, of course, we consider these proposals positively,” Lavrov said.
Turkey has been playing a role of a “facilitator” since the beginning of the crisis and has been making efforts to firstly establish a humanitarian ceasefire, which would favorably be followed by a peace deal.
“We are sending our foreign minister to Russia today. He will hold talks in Moscow tomorrow. He will travel to Ukraine on Thursday. He will continue our efforts to achieve a ceasefire and peace through talks with both sides,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 15.
Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar attended the NATO meeting in Brussels where the Ukrainian crisis was on top of the agenda.