Erdoğan, Putin to discuss Ukraine war in Astana

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, will hold a bilateral meeting in Astana to discuss the recent developments in the Russian-Ukrainian war amid Ankara's planned initiatives for ending the armed conflict.

The two leaders will come together on the sidelines of the Sixth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) to be held in Kazakhstan's capital Astana on Oct. 13. Their latest meeting was in mid-September in Samarkand. Erdoğan is also expected to hold a bilateral meeting with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko who will attend the summit as an observer. The summit will bring leaders together from 27 countries.

The meeting comes as both Ukraine and Russia increased their offensive against each other which weakened hopes for a ceasefire in the seven-month-long war. But Ankara, which has become an important mediator between the two sides, is still hopeful that diplomacy should prevail even in the most difficult times.

"Despite rising violence following the annexation [of Ukrainian regions by Russia], we still think that the diplomacy gate should be left open. We are telling this to both sides," İbrahim Kalın, Erdoğan's chief foreign policy advisor and spokesman, told in a televised interview late on Oct. 11.

Predicting that the war will likely escalate in the coming period, Kalın stressed, "But those who think 'No ground for diplomacy' are usually mistaken. To the contrary, diplomacy becomes even more important in such periods."

The presidential adviser also said that the Western powers, particularly the United States, want the prolongation of the war, explaining, "This has two dimensions. The first one is about the occupation and...

Continue reading on: