March 29, 2023

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Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdogan began talks in Kazakhstan. Turkey wants to stop the “bloodshed” in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan began talks in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The two heads of state are in Kazakhstan for the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.

Earlier, a Kremlin official suggested Erdogan was expected to “officially” offer to mediate peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

The Turkish leader hosted negotiations between the two sides shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, but the effort remained fruitless, the BBC reports.

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In July, Turkey also helped broker a deal to allow grain ships to leave Ukrainian ports via the Black Sea.

Putin proposes a new European gas hub in Turkey

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggests that Turkey could be used as a hub to deliver Russian gas to Europe.

In a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he said that the route through Turkey has proven to be the most reliable way to send gas to the EU.

Gas supplies through the Nord Stream pipeline from Russia to Germany have been disrupted since Russia invaded Ukraine and were completely shut down after an explosion at the pipeline under the Baltic Sea, believed to be a deliberate act of sabotage.

On Wednesday, Putin said that lost volumes from the Nord Stream pipeline could be moved to the Black Sea region, making Turkey Europe’s biggest gas supply hub.

Turkey wants to help stop the “bloodshed” in the war in Ukraine

Turkey wants to contribute to stopping the “bloodshed” in the war between Russia and Ukraine, despite the big obstacles, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, during a regional summit held in Kazakhstan, reports dpa.

“Our goal is to help stop the bloodshed as soon as possible by maintaining the momentum achieved despite the difficulties on the ground,” Erdogan said, hours before a scheduled meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

“A fair peace can be achieved through diplomacy,” added the Turkish president, who spoke to regional leaders gathered in the Kazakh capital Astana, where the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia is taking place.

On Wednesday, the Kremlin said on Wednesday that it expects the Turkish president to make his Russian counterpart a concrete proposal to mediate the conflict in Ukraine, during the meeting scheduled for Thursday in Kazakhstan between the two leaders.

NATO member Turkey, heavily dependent on Russian gas and oil, has made efforts since the February 24 Russian offensive to maintain relations with both Ukraine and Russia.

Ankara played a key role in a September prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine and in July’s conclusion of a UN-sponsored agreement between the two countries to allow the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea and Bosphorus.

It twice hosted a meeting of Russian and Ukrainian representatives on its territory in March for negotiations, which ultimately broke down, with the two camps blaming each other for it.

Erdogan has met with Putin three times in the last three months and talks regularly by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Turkish president poses as a privileged mediator and has long wanted to bring the Russian and Ukrainian leaders to the negotiating table.

On Tuesday, the head of Turkish diplomacy, Mevlut Cavusoglu, asked Russia and Ukraine for a ceasefire “as soon as possible”.

Given its dependence on Russian oil and gas, Turkey has not joined Western sanctions against Russia.

Erdogan, whose last meeting with Putin was in September on the sidelines of a regional summit in Uzbekistan, wants to increase trade with Moscow to help Turkey’s struggling economy ahead of presidential elections in June.

On Wednesday, the Turkish president met in Astana with his Kazakh counterpart Kasîm-Jomart Tokaev, the two being photographed playing ping-pong after signing six agreements ranging from security to trade.

The images from the ping-pong game of the two statesmen were enjoyed by the users of social networks, among other things for Erdogan’s unusual style of handling the paddle, notes dpa, quoted by Agerpres.

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