Turkey on Monday reiterated its call for an immediate end to the Russia-Ukraine war, urging a diplomatic solution after missiles hit a shopping center with more than 1,000 people inside in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk.
In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry expressed grief over the loss of lives in the missile attack.
“Such attacks, which have recently targeted civilian settlements in various cities, including Kyiv, once again reveal the brutality of the war in Ukraine and demonstrate the urgent need for lasting peace,” the ministry said.
“We strongly reiterate our call for an immediate cessation of this devastating war and a prioritization of a diplomatic solution,” it added.
Earlier, Ukrainian officials said that at least 10 people were killed and over 40 others injured after Russian missiles hit a shopping center with more than 1,000 people inside in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk.
Turkey’s goal is to contribute to a just peace between Russia and Ukraine, the head of the Presidential Communications Directorate also said.
In an interview with Il Messaggero, one of Italy’s leading newspapers, ahead of the third Intergovernmental Summit to be held between Turkey and Italy, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said: “By contrast, there are certain players that believe that they could benefit from the war dragging on for as long as possible. Turkey has never been such a country. Nor will we be like that in the future. We must believe in peace and strive for peace.”
In response to a question about sanctions on Russia, Altun said the issue of sanctions has been “seriously politicized” in recent years.
Recalling that some “politically motivated sanctions” were imposed on Turkey’s defense industry, Altun said: “For this reason, we believe that sanctions will only be meaningful and legitimate if they are decided under the United Nation’s umbrella.”
The communications director also reiterated Turkey’s stance on Sweden and Finland’s bids for NATO membership.
“If these nations, which remained neutral for a long time, are admitted into NATO, we will be pledging to defend them under Article 5. Therefore, we need to see that those countries have fully internalized NATO’s values and objectives and, at the same time, are fully committed to the Turkish people’s safety,” Altun said.
He also said that Ankara values Italy’s support for Turkey’s EU membership since the beginning.
“As Southern European nations, we should cooperate much more closely,” the Turkish official added.
Turkey is one of the most active countries working to ensure a permanent cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia. Its delicately balanced act of assuming a role as a mediator by keeping communication channels with both warring sides open provides a glimmer of hope in diplomatic efforts to find a solution and achieve peace in the Ukraine crisis. With its unique position of having friendly relations with both Russia and Ukraine, Turkey has won widespread praise for its push to end the war.
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. While Ankara has opposed international sanctions designed to isolate Moscow, it also closed its straits to prevent some Russian vessels from passing through them.
Negotiations in Istanbul held in March failed to make any headway but Turkey, which has close ties to both Kyiv and Moscow, has repeatedly put itself forward as a possible mediator.