ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today slammed Russia’s recognition of Ukraine’s breakaway regions and urged compliance with international law.
“We consider the decision unacceptable,” Erdogan, who is currently in Senegal, said in comments carried by the official Anadolu news agency.
“We invite the parties concerned to act with common sense and comply with the international law.”
Erdogan, who has friendly ties with both Russia and Ukraine, has sought to host the two countries’ leaders for a three-way summit in Turkey to ease tensions.
He visited Kiev earlier this month for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who he said looked “favourably” at a Turkey-hosted summit.
And he was expecting a response from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“And if Mr Putin also looks on this positively, we can, God willing, come together in Istanbul or Ankara,” Erdogan had said last week.
Speaking to reporters on the plane flying to Senegal from DR Congo earlier this week, Erdogan had also said Turkey would take precautionary “measures” in the light of the crisis.
“We cannot leave aside the responsibilities of being a Black Sea country,” he said, without elaboration.
Despite political disagreements including in Syria, Turkey has enjoyed burgeoning trade and defence ties with Moscow, purchasing Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system in defiance of criticism from the west.
In the meantime, Turkey, a member of Nato since 1952, has drawn Russia’s ire for selling drones to Ukraine in its conflict with pro-Moscow separatists.
Erdogan vocally opposed Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea because of the historical presence of ethnically-Turkic Tatars on the peninsula.