Turkey Pushes for Peace Talks Between Russia and Ukraine
(UnitedHeadlines.com) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been pushing hard for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, and he’s willing to mediate. So far, the Eurasian country’s leader has been unable to convince Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskyy to sit down together. Still, given Erdoğan’s track record, if anyone can convince the two to consider peace, it’s likely him.
Despite Turkey’s NATO membership, Erdoğan has stated he wants to remain neutral in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The Turkish leader likely gained brownie points with Putin back when he attempted to block Sweden and Finland from joining the 30-country alliance. He’s veered so far from the rest of the group that some leaders were uncertain where his loyalties really lie.
There is even a concern that Turkey might align with Russia if the organization became disgruntled enough to push out the rogue member. Erdoğan and Putin have reportedly had private talks, and they appear to have struck a deal that could see a redirection of energy from Moscow, “creating the largest gas hub in Turkey.”
Erdoğan’s shaky standing might concern other NATO members, but it could be his ace in the hole concerning peace talks. He has working relationships with both Putin and Zelenskyy, and his refusal to openly take sides has clearly afforded him some leverage.
Turkey, a NATO ally, has positioned itself as a neutral player in the Ukraine war. Now it's pushing Russia and Ukraine to begin peace talks.https://t.co/5ZcZbySp53
— NPR (@NPR) November 16, 2022
The Turkish relationship with Russia has proven beneficial more than once. In September, Erdoğan facilitated talks that helped lead to a prisoner swap between Ukraine and its aggressor, allowing 215 Ukrainian prisoners of war to go free.
Erdoğan also convinced Russia to temporarily reverse its blockade on Ukrainian grain and fertilizer exports in early November because it threatened to create a global hunger crisis. The Kremlin had seized all of Ukraine’s ports on the Black Sea, but Turkey’s leader convinced Putin to open three docking areas, allowing food to travel to poorer countries in desperate need.
Whether Erdoğan will succeed in organizing a peace talk remains to be seen. He made two previous attempts at bringing the warring leaders together, but discussions were fruitless. The most recent, which occurred in March, didn’t go anywhere. Officials say that when future talks occur, they would most likely take place in Ankara or Istanbul.
Zelenskyy says he has no interest in any further discussion with Putin. Considering all Ukraine has allegedly suffered over the bulk of 2022, can anyone really blame him?
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