In a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in Istanbul on Saturday, Erdogan expressed his support for Ukraine’s desire to join NATO. He stated that “there is no doubt that Ukraine deserves membership of NATO,” emphasizing Ankara’s solidarity with Kiev and the concrete assistance provided. Zelensky welcomed Erdogan’s support and revealed that he raised the issue of Ukraine’s invitation to NATO during their meeting.
The Turkish leader also called for a return to peace efforts between Moscow and Kiev, referring to Turkey’s past efforts to mediate peace talks. He claimed that Turkey had made the most intense efforts to bring the conflict to an end last year, although the negotiations ultimately failed to produce a resolution. Erdogan emphasized that a fair peace should create no losers.
The Kremlin responded to the meeting, stating that it would closely monitor the discussions between Zelensky and Erdogan. It expressed interest in knowing the details of their conversation while highlighting the constructive partnership between Russia and Turkey.
During the press briefing with Zelensky, Erdogan announced that he would host Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks in August. He expressed hope for an extension of the grain export deal between the two countries, which aims to keep food products flowing through Black Sea ports amid the ongoing Ukraine conflict. Erdogan stated that he hopes the agreement can be extended once every three months, rather than every two months, and that efforts will be made to increase its duration to two years.
Ukraine has been seeking a clear path to NATO membership from other member nations, particularly ahead of a major summit in Lithuania the following week. Erdogan’s support for Ukraine’s NATO aspirations may influence the discussions and decisions at the upcoming summit.
Turkey’s involvement in mediating peace talks, as well as its support for Ukraine’s NATO membership, highlights its role as a key player in the region. Erdogan’s upcoming meeting with Putin also indicates Turkey’s desire to maintain relations with both sides of the conflict.
The situation in Ukraine remains a matter of international concern, with ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia continuing to impact regional stability. As discussions and negotiations unfold, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize peaceful resolutions in order to prevent further escalation and bring about a lasting and fair peace.