Turkey will not turn its back on Ukraine

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While reassuring Turkey’s support for Ukraine as a NATO ally, Presidential Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun said the cooperation was not intended to harm Russia.

As a key NATO member, Turkey has reiterated its support for Ukraine in light of Russia’s militaristic rhetoric which poses a major challenge to the Western alliance in Eastern Europe.

“We are members of NATO and one of the most active members of the decision-making mechanisms on international security issues,” Fahrettin Altun, Turkiye’s communications director, told Bloomberg, an American media.

Altun’s comments came hours before Turkish President Erdogan’s visit to Kyiv on Thursday.

“We do not target another country when we do this and implement the agreements and collaborations that we have reached. Russia is one of the countries that knows this best,” Altun said, referring to a critical defense agreement signed in 2020 by Ankara and Kyiv.

Although Kyiv ratified it in November 2021, the country had already angered Russia by acquiring highly sophisticated Turkish-made drones a year earlier.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now expected to sign ten different agreements with Kyiv during his visit to the country. The agreements relate to several areas ranging from trade to culture, education and industry. Erdogan has previously said there “should be no doubt” about Turkey’s commitment to NATO.

“Ukraine is not an ordinary country. Ukraine is a strong country,” Erdogan said, while reiterating Turkey’s support for the country which faces the grim prospect of a full-scale Russian invasion .

Ankara has urged both sides to avoid aggressive stances and start a diplomatic process to avert war.

NATO has sent large quantities of weapons and forces deployed in Eastern Europe in response to Russia’s military build-up on the Ukrainian border.

But Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400s has also angered its NATO ally, the United States. In both cases, the Turkish leadership aimed to secure its vital security interests for regional stability.

While Altun reminded both the Western alliance and Russia that Turkey would fulfill its security commitments based on NATO membership, he said Turkey would continue to work on building common ground between the two parties.

Turkey will continue to fulfill its security commitments in line with NATO membership, Ankara said of the Ukraine crisis. (NATO/Pool/AA)

Turkiye’s mediation efforts

The Western alliance criticized Turkiye’s stance on Syria, where Ankara has developed a political partnership with Russia to resolve the country’s bloody conflict. The two powers have come to the table to build peace in the war-torn country in the absence of any reliable support from the Western alliance.

But with the Ukrainian conflict escalating, Ankara’s mediation efforts from Syria to Ukraine are being noticed and appreciated by some. NATO officials and several Western security analysts.

“Turkiye will do its part in both forming and implementing a common policy,” Altun said, referring to the country’s mediation efforts.

Straddling Europe and Asia, Turkey has argued that its foreign policy on various regional conflicts in the complicated Eurasia region is driven by the idea of ​​enhancing national and international security.

“We do not share the answers of our interlocutors on this question with the public until a concrete solution is found. This was our position before. But I can say that as a Turkiye both sides are aware that our good intentions on the matter are clear,” Altun said.

Turkey is better placed to help resolve the Ukrainian crisis because Ankara is a NATO ally and shares a positive working relationship with Russia.

“We are ready to do our part to restore dialogue and peace,” Altun said, proposing to both sides that Turkey could host negotiations and facilitate any peace talks.

President Putin recently accepted President Erdogan’s invitation for a visit, which is expected to take place in mid-February.

Altun stressed that Turkey’s close ties with Ukraine have nothing to do with the current crisis, as the two countries have maintained friendly relations for several years.

Criticism of the Western position

Altun also offered outspoken criticism of the Western alliance, of which Turkiye has been a part for more than six decades, regarding their sanctions-based positions towards Moscow and other capitals.

“Some Western governments, unfortunately, make little mention of the economic and social destruction it has caused and the destabilizing effect it has had on the region, assuming that the crisis is only between both capitals,” Altun said.

Despite the destabilizing effects of the West and the regional ambitions of Russia, Turkey can help the two sides to settle their differences, functioning with devotion as a “lightning rod”, because Ankara firmly considers that the security of the Ukrainian people comes first. .

“We expect everyone to act cautiously and constructively so that the current tense environment does not harm our region and, above all, the Ukrainian people,” Altun concluded.

Source: World TRT

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