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WAR IN UKRAINE

Erdogan urges Putin to make 'honourable exit' to end Ukraine conflict

Russia remains the top supplier of gas for Turkey. It also sent the highest number of tourists to Turkey in 2022 and is jointly building Turkey's first nuclear power plant

24 March 2022, Belgium, Brussels: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2nd R) on teh sidelines of a special meeting of NATO Leaders to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Henry Nicholls/PA Wire/dpa.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2nd R) on teh sidelines of a special meeting of NATO Leaders to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Henry Nicholls/dpa.

Russian President Vladimir Putin should be encouraged to "make an honourable exit" to settle the conflict in Ukraine, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in remarks released by his office on Friday.

"We need to tell [Putin] 'now, you should be the architect of a step for peace.' We should seek to settle this conflict by encouraging an honourable exit," Erdogan told reporters on his return flight from a Brussels meeting with NATO leaders.

Erdogan said he plans talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Putin to assess details of his NATO meeting.

Ankara sees itself as a mediator in the Ukraine conflict and has close relations with Ukraine and Russia.

Erdogan recently invited Putin for talks with Zelensky in Turkey after the country hosted a foreign-minister-level summit for the first time since the war began.

A compromise between Kiev and Moscow, including Ukraine dropping its aspiration to join NATO and partial disarmament, is still possible, Erdogan said. The parties, however, remain at odds regarding territorial issues, he added.

Western sanctions

As far as Western sanctions on Russia are concerned, he said “nothing can be done” by Turkey to add pressure due to dependence on Russian energy, among other key economic ties.

Russia remains the top supplier of gas for Turkey. It also sent the highest number of tourists to Turkey in 2022 and is jointly building Turkey's first nuclear power plant.

"I can not leave my citizens out in the cold ... I can not set our industry to zero. We must preserve these [interests]," Erdogan added.

Erdogan urges Putin to make 'honourable exit' to end Ukraine conflict
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