Turkey urges Russia to end Ukraine attack
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AFP) – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu asked Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to end the attack on Ukraine during a phone call on Saturday, a Turkish diplomatic source said.
Ankara has repeatedly called the Russian invasion of Ukraine "unacceptable" and offered to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv.
Cavusoglu told Lavrov that further military escalation would not benefit anyone, the source, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered his condolences over the loss of lives in the Russian attack and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded, during a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, the source said.
Erdogan said Turkey was trying to work towards the declaration of an immediate ceasefire "to prevent further loss of life and prevent further damage to Ukraine," the Turkish presidency said. Cavusoglu reiterated Turkey's "readiness to host negotiations that could take place between the Russian Federation and Ukraine," according to the diplomatic source.
Turkey has found itself in a balancing act between Russia and Ukraine, with which it has friendly ties. Ankara is highly dependent on Russia for energy supplies. The Council of Europe on Friday said it was suspending all representatives of Russia from the pan-European rights body over Moscow's attack against Ukraine.
Turkey abstained during the vote. In a televised interview late on Friday, Cavusoglu said: "We don't want to cut off the dialogue" with Russia.