Turkey warns Russian invasion of Ukraine would 'not be a wise act'

·2 min read

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is warning Russia that an invasion of Ukraine would "not be a wise act" as tensions continue to boil between Moscow and Kyiv.

"I hope that Russia will not make an armed attack or occupy Ukraine. Such a step will not be a wise act for Russia or the region," Erdoğan told broadcaster NTV during an interview on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

"There is a need for dialogue that will listen to Russia and eliminate their reasonable security concerns," he added.

During the interview, Erdoğan said he invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to travel to Turkey to take part in a diplomatic session with Ukraine to find a path to peace, according to Reuters. The Turkish president said he is expecting to hear back from Moscow in regards to his offer.

Such an offer for mediation was first suggested in November, according to the news wire.

Erdoğan said comprehensive conversations are needed to discuss some security concerns Russia has aired and to detail why some of the demands Moscow has laid out are not reasonable, Reuters reported.

Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, stoking fear among the U.S. and its allies that Moscow may be planning an incursion against Ukraine. Russia has denied having such plans and has laid out a series of demands to justify the military buildup, one of which is a vow not to admit Ukraine to NATO.

The U.S., however, rejected Moscow's demands and has vowed to inflict severe consequences if Russia invades Ukraine.

Erdoğan told NTV that Turkey, which is a member of NATO, is "ready to do whatever is necessary," and he said he relayed that message to Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"I think both countries are aware of the sincerity and good intent of Turkey," he added, according to Reuters.

Turkey has a good relationship with Russia and Ukraine but is against Moscow's policies in Syria and Libya and opposes Russia's annexation of Crimea, Reuters noted. Turkey has worked with Russia for defense and energy purposes, but Ankara reportedly irked Moscow when it sold sophisticated drones to Ukraine.

Erdoğan said the situation between Russia and Ukraine should be worked out by "avoiding the use of force."

"We hope the NATO initiative will be successful on this," he added.

Erdoğan said he will meet with Zelensky in Ukraine early next month to talk about the situation, and that he will meet with or call Putin soon, according to Reuters.

Erdoğan's attempt to reconcile rising tensions in the region comes after he called for an end to the "worrying escalation" at the border between Russia and Ukraine in April.

He said Turkey was ready to supply "any support necessary" if the situation between the two countries did not abate.

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