MOSCOW: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed the issue of Russia-Ukraine tensions with him.
According to a statement issued by the Presidency’s Directorate of Communications on Wednesday, Erdogan emphasized that the problem was becoming more complex with time and that a military conflict would not benefit anyone.
He said Turkey attaches importance to the continuation of diplomatic contacts and talks.
Ankara is ready to do its part to reduce tensions and preserve peace, Erdogan said.
Stating that Turkey does not recognize the steps against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and that this is a principled stance, Erdogan said it is important to reach a conclusion on the basis of the Minsk Agreements.
Reiterating his call for this issue to be resolved through dialogue, President Erdogan noted that it is beneficial to highlight diplomacy and that they maintain a constructive stance within NATO as well.
Earlier on Wednesday, Erdogan has said Turkey hoped that its Black Sea neighbors Russia and Ukraine return to the negotiating table as soon as possible to seek a solution.
He said Ankara would not turn its back on either Kiev or Moscow
Putin on Monday announced that Moscow was recognizing two eastern Ukrainian breakaway regions as “independent” states, followed quickly by an order sending Russian forces there to “maintain peace”.
The announcements drew widespread global condemnation, with Western countries announcing new sanctions on Russia.
Erdogan called the recognition unacceptable, stressing Turkey’s efforts to help reach a resolution.
In 2014, after invading Ukraine’s the Crimean Peninsula, Moscow began to support separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the central government, a policy that it has maintained for the past seven years. The conflict has taken more than 13,000 lives, according to the UN.
Putin’s latest moves follow Russia amassing some 100,000 troops and heavy equipment in and around its neighbor, with the US and Western countries accusing it of setting the stage for an invasion.
Russia has denied it is preparing an invasion and instead claims Western countries undermined its security through NATO’s expansion towards its borders.