“Turkey did not apply sanctions, kept communication with Russia open”

Turkey’s decision not to implement sanctions on Russia has helped keep lines of communication open with Moscow for ceasefire efforts, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın said on Friday.

Maintaining its neutral and balanced stance, Turkey continues its diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the Ukraine conflict, urging all parties to exercise restraint. While Ankara has opposed international sanctions designed to isolate Moscow, it has also closed its straits to prevent some Russian ships from passing through.

NATO ally Turkey borders Ukraine and Russia on the Black Sea and has good ties with both. Since the beginning of the conflict, Ankara has offered to mediate between the two sides and host peace talks, underlining its support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Having recently called Russia’s invasion an unacceptable violation of international law, Turkey has carefully crafted its rhetoric so as not to offend Moscow, with whom it has close ties on energy, defense and tourism.

While forging close ties with Russia in several areas and relying heavily on Russian tourists, Turkey has sold drones to Ukraine, angering Moscow. Turkey also opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya, as well as Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. President Erdoğan has repeatedly said that Turkey will not abandon its relations with Russia or Ukraine, stressing that Ankara’s ability to talk to both sides is an advantage.

The war between Russia and Ukraine, which began on February 24, has sparked international outrage with the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom, among others, imposing harsh financial sanctions on Moscow.

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