Türkiye to continue diplomatic mediation: Erdoğan

Türkiye to continue diplomatic mediation: Erdoğan

Türkiye to continue diplomatic mediation: Erdoğan

Türkiye has been exerting efforts to end the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine from the very beginning of the crisis, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, noting that the efforts have resulted in a prisoner swap.

“We have always attached importance and prioritized diplomacy no matter what the conditions were,” Erdoğan told a group of Turkish journalists traveling with him to New York City to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

“We have displayed a principled and conscious role in the frame of international law.”

Russia and Ukraine exchanged 200 prisoners of war as a result of Türkiye’s initiative, Erdoğan noted, reiterating Ankara’s commitment to continue its diplomatic mediation between the two warring sides to end the armed conflict.

“As a result of diplomatic traffic I conducted with Mr. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and Mr. [Ukranian President Volodymyr] Zelensky, the exchange of 200 war prisoners between Russia and Ukraine was accomplished today [Sept. 22]. This exchange that took place under Türkiye’s mediation is an important step for ending the war,” he said.

“Our efforts for peace between Russia and Ukraine continue.”

Russia and Ukraine, in war since Feb. 24, could secure the exchange of war prisoners after Türkiye’s leading mediation effort. Saudi Arabia also played a role.

“The cost of this war to these two countries, the region and the world is obvious. Nobody should try to further augment this cost. We, however, are happy to some extent about the steps we are taking. The steps over this exchange were important,” he stated.

The Turkish president thanked Zelensky and Putin for making this exchange possible as well as all the diplomats engaged in these talks. “This development made us seriously content. Both Mr. Putin and Mr. Zelensky have facilitated our efforts to this end,” he suggested.

Ankara has always voiced its intention to play the role of mediator or facilitator in the global and regional crises, the president stated, noting “Our leading role in diplomacy and as a global mediator force us to undertake more initiatives. Türkiye has always believed in the power of diplomacy and dialogue and sought to prove it. It has now received the result of this approach through the exchange of war prisoners.”

Türkiye calls on Russia to stop war

Erdoğan also explained that Ankara has never ended its efforts to end the war between Russia and Ukraine. “We have called on Russia to cease its military operations and withdraw its forces from Ukraine at every opportunity since Feb. 24. We expressed these again in our last meeting in Samarkand,” Erdoğan said, referring to his meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on Sept. 15 and 16.

“We will continue our efforts for peace and stability in the coming period. I will continue my diplomatic efforts by calling the leaders immediately after my return [to Türkiye],” Erdoğan said. The U.N. should take more initiatives to this end, Erdoğan said, stressing that the organization did also fail in addressing the global food and energy crisis as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ role in making the grain deal possible renewed the trust in the U.N. to a certain extent but these efforts should be focused on ending the war, Erdoğan stressed. “This should be a process with the inclusion of all the leaders, not only me. They all should push for it.”

On a question, Erdoğan said he is observing more appreciation from the world leaders over Türkiye’s human-focused diplomacy that resulted in the grain deal and exchange of war prisoners. “All the meetings we are holding and we will hold are for peace. We are in favor of diplomacy for the resolution of all sorts of crises. We should always underline the importance of human life, but we should tell it on both sides,” he said.

On a question about potential direct commercial flights from Russia to Turkish Cyprus, Erdoğan said he would surely be happy if that would happen as it would boost the tourism revenues of the northern part of the island.

Use of Russian credit cards

On another question over the use of the Russian credit cards, MIR cards in Türkiye, after two Turkish private banks have suspended the validation of these cards, Erdoğan said talks will continue with Russia on how to proceed on this issue.

“We sure have alternatives. But the problem is different aspects of the sanctions [imposed on Russia],” he said, informing that relevant officials are working on the alternatives. He also said he will chair a meeting on Sept. 23 to discuss how to resolve the problem.

European political community meet

Erdoğan also responded to a question on the recent escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the visit by U.S. Parliament Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Yerevan. “There is no need to exaggerate [her visit],” he said, underlining that he might have a meeting with Armenia’s President Nikol Pashinyan in Prague on the sidelines of the EU’s European Political Community meeting.

“We are now evaluating whether or not to attend the summit in Prague. If we have to attend, Pashinyan will also be there, and he is thinking over a meeting with me there. We may have a meeting with him to discuss all these things,” he suggested.

Türkiye will take some actions concerning the Caucasus in the coming period, Erdoğan informed, saying all these steps will be taken following talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Türkiye, U.S. trade momentum can reach $100 bln: Erdoğan
Türkiye, U.S. trade momentum can reach $100 bln: Erdoğan