Turkey gears up mediation efforts between Ukraine, Russia

Within the scope of mediation efforts, Ankara has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Turkey for a face-to-face meeting amid rising tension in the region, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Jan. 20.

"We disapprove of the developments between Russia and Ukraine since the existence of an atmosphere of war in the region and the emergence of such psychology upsets us as a country that has relations with both the sides," Erdoğan said, speaking at a joint press conference with his Salvadoran counterpart, Nayib Bukele.

"We hope to bring together Mr. Putin and Zelensky as soon as possible and to ensure that they have a face-to-face meeting," Erdoğan stated, noting that he would visit Ukraine in early February. "Our hope is for peace to reign in the region," he added.

Turkey attempts to hold the next meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk group between Ukraine and Russia in Istanbul, anonymous Turkish diplomatic sources said.

The meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group includes Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE and representatives from the Donbass conflict region, said the sources. Both parties are "warm to Turkey's mediation," the sources said, adding Ankara wants to "calm down tension, avoid conflict and increase dialogue."

The tension is continuing between Ukraine and Russia that also involved NATO, and Turkey is in contact with all the relevant parties, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Jan. 20, adding, "We hope for de-escalation through these talks."

Kiev has been battling a pro-Moscow insurgency in two breakaway regions bordering Russia since 2014 when the Kremlin annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. The conflict in eastern Ukraine...

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