Erdogan says ready to visit Moscow for Ukraine talks
ISTANBUL, Jan 21, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
said Friday he was ready to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in
Moscow in a bid to ease soaring tensions over Ukraine.
The Kremlin has been cool to Erdogan's past attempts at mediation because
of Turkey's supply of combat drones to Kyiv.
Turkey has previously proposed hosting talks between Russian and Ukrainian
officials in Istanbul under a peace format overseen by the Organisation for
Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Erdogan is expected to travel to Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President
Volodymyr Zelensky in early February.
"I have an upcoming visit to Ukraine," Erdogan told reporters after Friday
"In the meantime, there could be a telephone call with Mr Putin or I could
visit Moscow," he added without going into details.
NATO member Turkey backs Ukraine's ambition to join the Western defence
It never recognised Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula
and has signed several important defence contracts with Kyiv.
But Erdogan also has a close working relationship with Putin despite
disagreeing with the Russian leader on multiple fronts.
He said on Thursday that he had "warm ties with both Ukraine and Russia"
and would try everything possible to avert a war from breaking out.
"We want peace to prevail in our region, and for this we are ready to do
anything," he reaffirmed Friday.