A crisis meeting in Lviv, Ukraine, attended by UN chief António Guterres, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ended on Thursday with an urgent appeal to halt military operations around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Erdoğan warned of a nuclear disaster and announced further efforts to resolve the conflict. Commentators remain sceptical.
Today, Europe’s press debates the meetings hosted by President Zelensky in Lviv. Here are some opinions from a selection of European publications presented by eurotopics.
West nervous, while Turkey profits
Turkish President Erdoğan has managed to pull of a tricky balancing act in the Ukraine crisis so far, The Independent concludes:
“While Turkey benefits diplomatically from the success of the grain shipments, it also profits by ignoring western sanctions on Moscow. It continues to welcome Russian capital and citizenry, keeping it in good graces with the Kremlin. Turkey’s exports to Russia have jumped to an eight-year high, and Ankara’s transport minister has been openly boasting about an increase in car sales to Russia. While the west remains nervous about Turkey’s efforts to engage with Russia, Kyiv may appreciate Mr Erdogan’s role as interlocutor.”
No peace in sight
Despite his skilful political staging, Erdoğan won’t be able to secure peace, the daily Salzburger Nachrichten notes:
“Ankara showed with the grain deal that it can perform the role of mediator beyond the symbolic. … It would be an exaggeration to stylise Erdoğan as a peacemaker. His goal of holding talks in Ukraine on ‘ending the war’ is unrealistic, because the military reality is more important than the mediator. And right now, that reality is making it impossible for Moscow to boast of any victories at home.”
There is still hope
If there is anyone at all that can mediate, it is the Turkish head of state, Corriere della Sera explains:
“It is still unclear to what extent it will be possible to break the war cycle and start concrete negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv aimed at achieving a ceasefire. But if there is a mediator today who is capable of doing this, it seems to be Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This was the background to the trilateral meeting. … Wheat was discussed, as well as the potentially dramatic issue of the embattled nuclear power plant in the Zaporizhzhia region, but at the heart of the talks was the hope of ending the conflict in a relatively short time.”
Putin and Erdoğan in a win-win situation
The visit to Ukraine testifies to Erdoğan’s double-dealing strategy, says De Tijd:
“external help is welcome to avert economic disaster, and Russia is willing to provide it. In return, Turkey will keep its borders wide open for people and goods. Oligarchs and their yachts are welcome in Turkish ports. Erdoğan is playing this double game because he faces elections next year. And he will take advantage of anything that can boost his image as a diplomat. But the economic ties with Russia are also crucial. … Putin and Erdoğan are in a win-win situation.”
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