Turkey ready to host 4-way Ukraine peace talks: FM Çavuşoğlu

Turkey is ready to host a four-way meeting including representatives from the United Nations, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey itself, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Saturday.

The Turkish foreign minister and his Czech counterpart on Saturday discussed revitalizing peace talks between Russia and Ukraine and lifting obstacles to grain exports. Speaking at a joint news conference with top Czech diplomat Jan Lipavsky, Çavuşoğlu commented on the countries’ bilateral relations as well as the ongoing Ukraine war.

“We told (Lipavsky) that the UN plan is the best, most righteous plan, and said that the details should be negotiated between the sides,” the top diplomat said, adding that Turkey is ready to host a four-way meeting.

Çavuşoğlu also said eliminating elements casting dark clouds over grain exports carries critical importance, especially for less-developed countries, and that Turkey had told its position to Moscow and is awaiting a reply.

I have noted that the two tackled regional matters along with the latest developments in the context of the war in Ukraine and NATO.

“Turkey has always backed NATO’s open-door policy. There are two candidate countries (Finland and Sweden) right now,” he stressed, highlighting terrorism and Russia as two major items on NATO’s current agenda.

“So we want the concerns of all allies to be taken into consideration. These two countries’ support for terrorism is evident… We have conveyed our expectations and concerns to both sides in written form, and now await for replies,” he said , referring to Finland and Sweden’s support for the terrorist group YPG/PKK.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last month – a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24. But Turkey, a longstanding member of the alliance, has voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups. All membership applications must be met by unanimity in the 30-member alliance to be successful.

Ankara’s main demands are for the Nordic countries to halt support for the PKK and the YPG terrorist groups present on their territory, and to lift their bans on sales of some arms to Turkey. Ankara says the arms ban against an ally is inappropriate for prospective members of the security pact.

Lipavsky, for his part, said his country sought to establish a dialogue with Turkey to come up with solutions on energy security, migration, the rule of law and human rights.

The war in Ukraine and the NATO summit set for Madrid in three weeks and the Turkish initiative to create a corridor to ensure grain exports were among the topics discussed, according to Lipavsky, adding that his country supported Ukraine since the start of the war.

Lipavsky said that he was convinced Finland and Sweden joining NATO would not only be a symbol of unity before the Russian aggression but would also increase the alliance’s defense capabilities.

As NATO allies with common interests and shared values, Turkey is “willing to make sincere efforts” to enhance relations with the Czech Republic, according to the Turkish foreign minister.

“We enjoy vibrant relations which are free of any acute problems. We are ready to further our bilateral relations in every aspect,” Çavuşoğlu said in an article he penned for Czech daily Lidove Noviny.

“With its friendly people and rich history and culture, the Czech Republic has a special place in our ties with Central Europe,” wrote Çavuşoğlu, who reached Prague on an official visit on Friday.

He emphasized the need for greater cooperation between Turkey and the Czech Republic to overcome regional and global challenges such as the crisis in Syria and the Ukraine war.

“Turkey and the Czech Republic have a joint political will to develop our friendly relations on the basis of cooperation and mutual respect,” he said, adding that the two countries approach “the centennial anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations.”

Çavuşoğlu said Ankara wants to raise bilateral relations to a higher level in the coming years and is willing to make sincere efforts in this direction.

On cooperation in the field of migration, he said no country could “understand the situation in the neighboring countries of Ukraine better than Turkey.”

“Migration is a global issue which requires fair burden-sharing and tackling challenges at the very source. Turkey does its part in this regard and remains ready to cooperate with the willing parties to this end,” he added.

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