Erdogan to visit Ukraine Feb 3 in bid to ease tension, official says

Erdogan to visit Ukraine Feb 3 in bid to ease tension, official says

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan will visit Ukraine on Thursday for talks with President Volodymry Zelenskiy that are meant to ease tensions between Kyiv and Russia, a senior Turkish official said on Monday.

Ankara has good ties with both Kyiv and Moscow, but opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya, as well as its annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014. While forging cooperation with Russia on defence and energy, Ankara has also sold sophisticated drones to Ukraine, angering Moscow.

“Erdogan will convey messages to Zelenskiy on maintaining peace in the region and preventing a rise in tension and hot conflict,” the official said.

He said plans were also being made for Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Turkey following the Winter Olympics, being held in China between Feb. 4-20.

“We expect both the talks to be effective in lowering tensions between Russia and Ukraine,” the official said, requesting anonymity.

Last week, Erdogan said Russia would be unwise to attack Ukraine and in that case Turkey would do what is necessary as a NATO member. [Reuters]

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