Turkey is ready to host a peace summit between Russia and Ukraine, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Istanbul.

NATO member Turkey has been positioning itself as a potential mediator between Moscow and Kyiv since Russia launched its invasion more than two years ago.

Erdogan's proposal comes as Ukraine faces mounting pressure on the front line, where it has lost ground to Moscow in recent months amid hold-ups to aid from its Western allies.

"We are ready to host a peace summit where Russia is also present," Erdogan told a press conference alongside the Ukrainian leader.

"While we continue our solidarity with Ukraine, we will continue our work to end the war with a just peace on the basis of negotiations," Erdogan said. 

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Zelensky dismissed the idea of negotiating directly with Russia, arguing that Ukraine and Western leaders must set out peace on their own terms.

He noted there would be an upcoming peace summit in Switzerland, where Kyiv would promote its own "peace formula", but ruled out Russia's participation.

"We don't see how we can invite people who block, destroy and kill everything. We want to get results," Zelensky said.

He called the talks with Erdogan "productive" and thanked Turkey for its mediation efforts on Ukraine's Black Sea grain exports and prisoner exchanges.

Ankara has sought to maintain good relations with both Moscow and Kyiv, helping the two sign a now shuttered agreement to ensure the safe passage of grain via the Black Sea in July 2022.

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In response to Russia's armed aggression Ukraine, once the world's breadbasket, has had to focus more on reinforcing it military arsenal along with most countries in the West.

- 'We are not hopeless' -

Erdogan said he and Zelensky had discussed issues of port security, navigation safety in the Black Sea, prisoner exchanges and food security, and that they shared the same opinions.

"We are not hopeless," he said.

"We believe that there are some opportunities that Turkey can provide with its stance."

Turkey hosted failed ceasefire talks between Kyiv and Moscow in the first weeks of the war and wants to revive them.

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Its strategic location on the Black Sea and its control of the Bosphorus Strait gives it a unique military, political and economic role in the conflict.

In July 2022, Ankara with the United Nations brokered the Black Sea grain deal, the most significant diplomatic agreement so far reached between Kyiv and Moscow.

Moscow ditched the initiative -- which allowed the safe passage of Ukrainian agricultural exports across the mine-laden Black Sea -- a year later, complaining that the terms were unfair.

Since the collapse of the deal, Kyiv has used an alternative shipping route hugging the coastline to avoid contested international waters.

Turkey has been lobbying hard for an agreement to ensure cargo can once again navigate those waters in safety.

- Russia-Turkey relations -

Turkey's Western allies have expressed concern over its relations with Moscow. Ankara is reliant on Russian energy and has faced scrutiny as Russia seeks to avoid Western trading restrictions.

The United States has sanctioned several Turkish companies for helping Russia purchase goods that could be used by its armed forces.

The Erdogan-Zelensky meeting comes a week after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan at a diplomatic forum in Antalya.

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President Vladimir Putin was to visit Turkey last month, but postponed the trip, according to Turkish and Russian media citing diplomatic sources.

The Kremlin has said it is rescheduling the visit, but has given no date.

Russia and Ukraine both accused each other of killing civilians in drone strikes deep behind enemy lines on Friday.

A Ukrainian drone attack on the Russian border region of Belgorod killed two people, the region's governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

In Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv region, a Russian drone attack on the town of Vovchansk killed a man and a woman in a car, regional head Oleg Sinegubov said.

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Comments (4)

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Mouse
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When Isis rose to power in north Syria and established it’s caliphate, Turkey fully supported them in their goals to kill everyone that wasn’t a Sunni muslim. Shiites, christians, Kurds and Jezidis.
Turkey’s support meant that they allowed the smuggle of wannabe fighters into Syria, they allowed wounded Isis fighters to be taken care of in Turkish hospitals before returning to the battlefield, they bought oil and stolen Syrian artifacts from Isis and they covertly supported Isis with weapons.

When all went to hell, Turkey changed its stance and shifted towards the smuggling of people into the EU. And while they received a lot of money from the EU to stop the smuggling, it continues to this day. Just like we can expect Turkey’s smuggling of stolen raw materials from the Donbas to continue indefinitely.

Good friends? I think not.

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David Steel
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Britain doesn't trust the Turks, Brexit happened after the EU declared they were considering allowing Turkey to join the bloc, meaning hundreds of thousands of them would head straight to Britain via the freedom of movement system for free healthcare.

That's healthcare British people have funded for years with their taxes being exploited by new arrivals with seriously expensive illnesses and other medieval crap we erradicated centuries ago through vaccination programs.

Why should we pay to cure the entirety of Turkey when their own government has failed to invest for decades? Doctors' appointments are unavailable for our own citizens and there are huge waiting lists for routine surgery due to Britain's generosity.

As a country we said no more, we voted for Brexit, to leave the corrupt EU that benefits only Germany and France.

To Turkey I give a big middle finger, Ukraine does not need your two-faced insincere help and I hope they don't send a delegation who will only get poisoned anyway.

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Mark Rockford
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Erdogan is no friend of Ukraine, and shouldn't be trusted any more than the China. He plays all sides in an attempt to gain himself more power. We need to support Ukraine completely, and when Russia is defeated and the war is over, Turkey needs to be given an ultimatum by the West. The days of tolerating their fence-sitting need to end.

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John
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I don't trust Turkey under Erdogen to do anything in Ukraine's best interest. He stalled new members joining NATO. He's called EU members NAZI's. Provided negligible aid to Ukraine during the war. He's recently allowed Russian military vessels to sail in Turkey's maritime exclusion zone to avoid Ukraine's sea drones in Black Sea. He's provided russia sanction busting work arounds.

At any rate the Ukrainian government's proposed peace plan is quite palatable to its true allies. This war ends when Russia leaves all Ukraine and makes reparations. The fading putin regime's farce of a plan in contrast is delusional.

I actually suspect inviting anyone from the Putin regime to any peace discussion would be pointless. Russians will need overthrow their current leadership and appoint representation from outside that morally dysfunctional leadership circle to ever have a credible voice on the global stage again.



Its’ your call Ukraine as when and how you want to end the war started by Russia.

Jack Griffin
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@John, well looky here. For once something we agree on. Erdogan is not be trusted. Now let’s state this correctly, he is a piece of shit, dictator, mofo.

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