The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine will be resolved through diplomacy, not through fighting, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Wednesday as he emphasized the country’s efforts to mediate an end to the war.
“One way or another, this war will end at the table,” Çavuşoğlu said at a conference on Türkiye’s enterprising and humanitarian foreign policy in the capital Ankara. “We do not think it will end with military gains on the ground. Even so, there is a risk that the war could last for decades.”
Referring to the high-level tripartite meeting Türkiye, Ukraine and Russia held at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum earlier this year, Çavuşoğlu argued that there were “new realities in new conditions” compared to March. “It has become more complex. It is not that easy, but we should not lose hope,” he noted.
On separate two-day peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations held in Istanbul later in March, Çavuşoğlu said: “Actually, when we came together in Istanbul, the parties were very close to a cease-fire. But then, the magic hands intervened and we saw the sides move away from the table.”
Stressing how “useful” Türkiye’s policy of balance on the Russia-Ukraine war has been, he said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is “the only leader in NATO able to meet equally” with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts.
“Being a NATO member does not mean that we cannot meet with Russia or other countries. It is necessary to maintain this balance well,” Çavuşoğlu explained.
Thanks to its active foreign policy, Türkiye is a pioneer in mediation issues in organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, he added.
A prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine was also secured at the initiative of President Erdoğan, he added, pointing out that Ankara played a facilitating role in talks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant issue, as well.
He criticized reactions from the EU, U.S., Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration against the admission of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as an observer member into the Organization of Turkic States. “They threatened the Turkic states and put pressure on them, but they saw that the Turkic world would no longer bow to such threats and pressure.”
Türkiye, striving to be a “stabilizing power” in its region, has been maintaining diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the conflict since it broke out, urging all sides to use restraint and keep an open dialogue, and assuming a critical role in preventing a global food crisis with the landmark grain deal. Ankara even hosted a meeting between the CIA and Russian intelligence service heads last week about Moscow’s nuclear threats in Ukraine.
Recent statements by Russian and Ukrainian leaders have suggested a possible willingness to engage in talks, though Kyiv’s preconditions seem to rule them out for now.