Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky that Ankara was making efforts to broker a ceasefire with Russian forces.
This was conveyed in a telephone call between Erdoan and Zelensky on Saturday, February 26, 2022.
Zelensky asked Turkey to close the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits controlling passage to the Black Sea to Russian warships. Turkish officials told local media that no decision had been made to do so.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to end attacks on Ukraine during a phone call on Saturday, a Turkish diplomatic source said.
Ankara has repeatedly called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “unacceptable” and offered to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv.
Cavusoglu told Lavrov that further military escalation would benefit no one, said the source, who wished to remain anonymous.
Erdogan offered his condolences for the loss of life in the Russian attack and wished a speedy recovery to those injured during his call with Zelensky, the source said.
Erdogan said Turkey was trying to work towards an immediate ceasefire declaration “to prevent further loss of life and prevent further damage to Ukraine,” the Turkish presidency said.
Cavusoglu reiterated Turkey’s “readiness to host negotiations that could take place between the Russian Federation and Ukraine,” according to a diplomatic source.
Turkey has found itself in a balancing act between Russia and Ukraine, with whom it has friendly relations. Ankara relies heavily on Russia for energy supplies.
The European Council on Friday said it was suspending all Russian representatives from the pan-European rights body over Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine. Turkey abstained during the vote.
In a television interview on Friday evening, Cavusoglu said, “We don’t want to cut off dialogue” with Russia.