Erdogan accuses West of trying to drag Turkey into conflict with Russia — RT World News
Ankara remains keen to pursue ‘serious’ mediation between Moscow and Kyiv, says Turkish leader
The West will not succeed in its attempts to drag Turkey into conflict with Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
“We live in a world marked by crises and wars. We were able to build a strong and independent Türkiye in this environment and we must maintain it,” the Turkish leader said in an interview with A Haber TV channel on Wednesday.
“Without our efforts over the past two years, the Western club would have dragged Turkey into a war against Russia. As long as we are here, we will not allow this. Erdogan insisted.
He reiterated Ankara’s readiness to help settle the conflict between Russia and Ukraine at the negotiating table. Peace can be obtained by “a serious and determined mediation”, he said.
Erdogan’s interview comes six weeks before presidential and general elections in Türkiye on May 14. Turkey’s president and his ruling AK party are set to face a tough challenge following a devastating earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people in the country in early February.
Erdogan also touched on the Ukrainian conflict during a joint press conference with his Hungarian counterpart Katalin Novak in Ankara on Wednesday, stressing that Turkey wants to ensure peace between Russia and Ukraine. “as soon as possible.”
He suggested the sides could meet again in Istanbul, where talks took place shortly after fighting broke out more than a year ago.
Türkiye maintained contacts with Moscow and Kyiv throughout the conflict. He condemned Russia’s use of force, but at the same time refused to bow to pressure from the United States and its allies to join international sanctions against Moscow.
Ankara was also involved in the UN-brokered deal to allow grain exports from Black Sea ports, which was signed between Russia and Ukraine last July. Earlier this month, the deal was extended for another 60 days.
Moscow presents Ukraine’s peace demands
Russia maintains that it is ready to resolve the crisis in Ukraine at the negotiating table, but says that the proposals put forward by Kyiv and its Western backers have so far been “unacceptable,” leaving it no choice but to pursue its objectives by military means.