‘World leaders appreciate Turkey’s mediation role in Ukraine war’

 ‘World leaders appreciate Turkey’s mediation role in Ukraine war’

World leaders at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit appreciated Turkey’s role in de-escalating tensions in the Russia-Ukraine war, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in remarks published on Saturday.

“Almost all of the leaders I met especially thanked us for the role we played in reducing tensions in the Russia-Ukraine war. They said, ‘We really appreciate and congratulate you for your role here,'” Erdoğan told reporters on the presidential plane en route to New York from Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Erdoğan attended the SCO summit as a special guest at the invitation of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

Turkey took part at the presidential level for the first time since becoming a dialogue partner in the organization in 2012.

Erdoğan said Turkey has been following a balanced policy between Russia and Ukraine since the beginning of the war in February.

“Of course, the most important thing is the grain corridor issue,” he said, adding that he spoke about this issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit.

Erdoğan said they agreed that the least developed countries should benefit from the grain corridor rather than the developed ones.

Türkiye, the United Nations, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul on July 22 to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began.

Previously, Erdoğan echoed Putin, saying Ukrainian grain is exported to wealthy countries, not to those in need.

“In the next process, I hope we will make this corridor work in the most ideal way,” Erdoğan said.

Asked about restrictions on Russia’s fertilizer exports, Erdoğan said Turkey is in talks with relevant countries on all kinds of products (either grain or fertilizer) coming from both Russia and Ukraine.

“Since we have taken the steps with such mutual negotiation and consultation until now, no serious error has emerged yet. In our meeting with Putin, we agreed that this process should be continued with the same caution,” he added.

Putin on Friday urged the UN to push the European Union to lift its sanctions blocking Russian fertilizer exports to developing countries. He pointed out that the bloc had eased curbs to let in Russian fertilizers to Europe, but was unwilling to do the same for developing countries outside the continent.

SCO membership

“Since its establishment, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has made serious progress in the fields of security, economy and trade, and has continued to expand within this framework. The decisive role played by the Asian continent in the global economy is already evident,” Erdoğan said.

After attending this year’s SCO summit as a dialogue partner, Türkiye might take a further step in the 2023 summit in India, Erdoğan said, adding that Ankara “targets” membership.

The president said Turkey is firm in further developing its cooperation with continental countries at bilateral and multilateral levels.

Established in 2001, the eight-member organization aims to strengthen friendship, good neighborly relations and mutual trust among member states.

About wide media coverage of his image while talking to the leaders on the sidelines of the summit, Erdoğan said: “(Azerbaijani President Ilham) Aliyev left that seat to me, and he took the seat next to me. Since most of them know Russian , the translator was also translating what we spoke into Russian.

“Of course, all of them really enjoyed our conversation there. It was a good moment.”

Azerbaijan-Armenia clashes

About the recent clashes that erupted between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops earlier this week, Erdoğan said it is important for Armenia to abandon “provocations” against Azerbaijan and focus on peace and cooperation in accordance with their earlier commitments.

“Our wish is to successfully conclude the normalization processes carried out in our region and to ensure regional peace and stability permanently,” he added.

Baku has accused Yerevan of “large-scale provocations,” saying saboteurs planted mines and Armenian forces carried out “intensive” firing on Azerbaijani positions.

Turkey reiterated its support to Azerbaijan, calling on Armenia to remain committed to the agreement that ended the armed conflict in 2020.

Most recently, Aliyev told Putin on Friday that the border conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia this week had “stabilized”, and a cease-fire had been in place for the last two days.

Speaking to Putin on the sidelines of the summit in Uzbekistan, Aliyev said: “Border conflicts happen. Unfortunately, they have been associated with numerous casualties on both sides, but the main thing is that we have managed to stabilize the situation and shift it to a peaceful course.”

Putin said it was “good” that the conflict had de-escalated, but that the situation was still tense.

More than 200 service personnel have been killed in the clashes, according to new figures from both countries on Friday.

Armenia and Azerbaijan blame each other for the fighting, their deadliest confrontation since thousands were killed in a six-week war over the region of Karabakh in 2020.

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