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Turkey says it’s trying to broker ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine

In phone call, Zelensky asks Erdogan to close off Black Sea to Russian warships, but Ankara says it has made no decision on the matter

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a press conference at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on January 22, 2022. (Adem Altan/AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a press conference at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on January 22, 2022. (Adem Altan/AFP)

In a phone call Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky that Ankara was making efforts to broker a ceasefire with Russia forces assaulting his country.

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 asked Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to end the attack on Ukraine during a phone call on Saturday, a Turkish diplomatic source told AFP.

Ankara has repeatedly called the Russian invasion of Ukraine “unacceptable” and offered to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv.

Cavusoglu told Lavrov that further military escalation would not benefit anyone, the source, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

Erdogan offered his condolences over the loss of lives in the Russian attack and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded during his call with Zelensky, the source said.

Illustrative: A Russian navy warship passing through the Bosphorus strait in 2015. (YouTube/euronews)

Erdogan said Turkey was trying to work towards the declaration of an immediate ceasefire “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 the diplomatic source.

Turkey has found itself in a balancing act between Russia and Ukraine, with which it has friendly ties. Ankara is highly dependent on Russia for energy supplies.

The Council of Europe on Friday said it was suspending all representatives of Russia from the pan-European rights body over Moscow’s attack against Ukraine. Turkey abstained during the vote.

In a televised interview late on Friday, Cavusoglu said, “We don’t want to cut off the dialogue” with Russia.

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